asked the Postmaster-General whether he is aware that during the week ending 16th June the average daily number of telegrams which had accumulated during the night, and which were waiting to be handled when the office re-opened at 7 o'clock in the morning, amounted to 25; that a keen desire exists for the maintenance of the telegraph facilities hitherto enjoyed by the people in the County of Leicester and in the many towns for which the city of Leicester acts as a transmitting station; and whether, in accordance with his express desire not to handicap any attempt to revive the trade of the community, he will restore to Leicester its 24-hour telegraph service, which was of such vital importance to the community, not only in its every day business, but as a means of communication in serious emergency?
I am aware that the average number of telegrams received at Leicester between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. approximates to the number quoted by the hon. Member. A considerable proportion, however, come to hand between midnight and 6 a.m., and would not, in ordinary course, be delivered until the morning even if the office were open. Urgent telegrams can still be handed in throughout the night at the sorting office, and as Leicester is not the transmitting office for any offices with exceptional hours of telegraph business, the question of transmitted telegrams is of no relevance. I find it difficult to believe that the closure of the telegraph office between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. can handicap commercial business, and I do not think the small number of telegrams dealt with between those hours justify the expenditure involved.