asked the Postmaster-General if he will give sub-postmasters the right to a direct appeal to him where their successor who has bought the business is unacceptable to the local postal authority, and so prevent the abuse of this power; and if he will make a statement.
No, Sir. We make clear to every sub-postmaster that, if he resigns, his business successor will have no automatic right to the sub-postmaster ship.
I believe the Minister is aware that two of my constituents feel that they have been grossly unjustly treated by the local officials. Is he aware that they want an appeal to the right hon. Gentleman when they feel their case is well founded, and sub-postmasters in the whole country feel the same way? Surely these people ought to have a right of appeal to the Minister if they feel they are not being properly treated?
While I agree that someone has got to be the arbiter, in this case we do not think it ought to be the Postmaster-General. If anyone is to be the arbiter it ought to be the director for the region. If any sub-postmaster has any complaint when he seeks to relinquish a sub-post office and he is not satisfied with the decision that has been given, he can appeal to the director who is the final arbiter. I would remind the hon. Gentleman that there are over 20,000 of these sub-post offices in the country.
In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I give notice that I shall seek to raise the matter on the Adjournment.