HC Deb 15 March 1971 vol 813 cc888-90
5. Mr. Molloy

asked the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications if he is now in a position to name the new Chairman of the Post Office Board.

22. Mr. Arthur Lewis

asked the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications whether he is now able to announce the appointment of a Chairman of the Post Office Corporation; and whether he will give an assurance that such a person will be acceptable to the workers in this industry.

24. Mr. Charles R. Morris

asked the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications when he proposes to fill the vacancy of Chairman of the Board of the Post Office Corporation.

Mr. Chataway

I am not yet in a position to make an announcement and will do so when the appointment is made.

Mr. Molloy

Would the right hon. Gentleman not agree that as there is still great bitterness amongst the staff of the Post Office, particularly postmen, on this now urgent matter, an unbiased and independent Chairman should be appointed so that the Post Office can get on with its proper job, which can be achieved only if a new Chairman is soon appointed to try to heal some of the wounds which still exist?

Mr. Chataway

I agree that this is one of the qualities that would be required of a new Chairman. As I am sure the hon. Gentleman appreciates, the strike was bound to set back the evaluation and selection process that goes with an important appointment of this sort.

Mr. Lewis

When the right hon. Gentleman considers the qualifications necessary, will he bear in mind a point in the latter part of Question No. 22 and try to get someone who is obviously of reputable ability and who will also be welcomed by the workers within the industry?

Mr. Chataway

I agree that the person who is appointed needs to be somebody who will command the loyalty of the employees generally.

Mr. Morris

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is urgency about making this appointment? Will he bear in mind that in the last two months the Post Office has not demonstrated any great ability in the matter of industrial relations? Would he bear this factor in mind as a qualification for the post when he decides to fill it?

Mr. Chataway

I would not necessarily agree with the hon. Gentleman's comments about the Post Office, but I will certainly bear in mind his view about urgency.

19. Mr. William Hamilton

asked the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications whether he will consider advertising publicly for a new Chairman of the Post Office Board.

Mr. Chataway

I do not think this would be helpful.

Mr. Hamilton

As the Government believe in the principle of competition, would it not be a logical step to make sure that we get the right man for the right job rather than the right hon. Gentleman appointing what would appear to many people to be a "Yes" man for Government policy?

Mr. Chataway

I share the hon. Gentleman's belief in the value of advertising on occasions, but I do not think that it would be a justified expenditure of public funds in this instance, simply because those most likely to be suitable would almost certainly know already that the vacancy exists.