HC Deb 06 July 1920 vol 131 c1258W

Mr. BOTTOMLEY asked the Home Secretary whether he has now ascertained that the letter addressed to the hon. Member for South Hackney, which was recently opened on the alleged authority of the Home Office, was in fact opened without such authority; whether he is aware that Sub-section (1) of Section 56 of the Post Office Act, 1908, constitutes the opening of letters in course of post without the warrant of the Secretary of State a misdemeanour punishable by imprisonment with or without hard labour, or to a fine, or to both such imprisonment and fine; and whether he proposes to institute proceedings under such Section against the person responsible for this breach of the law?

Mr. SHORTT: As I have already informed the hon. Member, the letter was opened by mistake and I have expressed my regret. I am well aware of the provisions of Section 56 of the Post Office Act, 1908; but as there is no suspicion here of anything but a mistake made in perfect good faith, there can be no question of a prosecution.

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