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Post-Office Arrangements

Volume 52: debated on Friday 7 February 1840

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wished to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer a question respecting the transmission of the votes and proceedings of that House to different parties. Had any arrangement been made by which the votes and bills of the House of Commons might be transmitted post free by Members to their constituents, and by their constituents back again to different Members?

was much obliged to the right hon. Gentleman for asking him this question. He had received within the last few days, through the kindness of the Speaker, a resolution of the Printing Committee, stating that whatever other arrangements might be made by the Post-office as to the transmission of Parliamentary documents, the bills and votes of the House at least ought to pass free of postage. With respect to the proposal of having a franking committee, he had a great objection to open the door again to the abuses of the franking system. He would impress on the House the propriety of not pushing that point, especially as it was easy to make an arrangement having the same effect in a practical form, and in another way. He proposed that this class of Parliamentary proceedings should be free of postage. He proposed that the same course should be adopted in the House of Commons with votes and bills as was adopted with the papers issued by and in the other public departments, namely, that the Post-office should make a charge for them against the department, and the department against the public. This would produce the same effect both to the sender and to the receiver, and would prevent the necessity of opening the door to that system of franking which had been found so full of abuses. If he should be given to understand that this arrangement met with the assent of the House, the Post-office would be instructed to enter into communication with the Speaker for the purpose of accomplishing it.