§ Mr. SEXTON
asked the Postmaster-General whether he is aware that 96 per cent. of the telegraph staff at Chester have petitioned the postmaster against the proposed promotion of a junior officer over the head of a fully qualified senior officer who has greater experience and higher technical and administrative 1039W ability; whether he has declined to receive a deputation from the memorialists and, if so, on what grounds; whether the father of the retiring assistant superintendent, Mr. Junes, was superintendent directly supervising his son; whether the retiring assistant superintendent, as a result of the influence of his father, was acting as a sorting clerk before he was 14 years of age and was appointed on the establishment before he was 14 years of age; whether he was created a charge clerk at the age of 28 years; whether another superintendent, Mr. Kershaw, gained similar privileges for his son, whereby the boy entered the service at 11 years of age and was appointed at 14 years of age; whether the last officer was unfairly and improperly selected for the position of examiner of learners whilst his colleagues were absent on military service; and whether, seeing that it is now proposed to promote him to higher rank as the result of family influence, he will institute a thorough inquiry as to the nature of the reports on which the local recommendation is based?
§ Mr. KELLAWAY
The hon. Member presumably refers to the Chester Office where there is a prospective vacancy for a telegraph assistant superintendent. Seven out of 25 sorting clerks and telegraphists made application to the postmaster to receive them as a deputation on the selections to be made for promotion. The postmaster had already interviewed the only two of the applicants who were directly interested, and he considered a further interview would serve no useful purpose.
Mr. Jones's father, when superintendent many years ago, supervised the staff which included his son. The statement made regarding the appointments of Mr. Jones and Mr. Kershaw refer to a period between the years 1882 and 1896. The figures quoted by the hon. Member regarding the ages of these officers are approximately correct, but there is no evidence that their appointments were made otherwise than in accordance with the regulations in force at the time. Mr. Kershaw was one of the only two members of the telegraph staff at Chester who had active service during the War, and he was not appointed examiner of learners until February, 1920, after he had been demobilised from the Army. I have no reason to suppose that his selection was 1040W either unfair or improper, there is no foundation whatever for the suggestion that he is now being recommended for promotion as the result of family influence. All the circumstances will be taken into consideration before a promotion is made, and the officer promoted will be the one whom I am satisfied is the best qualified of all the eligible candidates.