Priority Telephone Calls.

Oral Answers to Questions — Post Office. – in the House of Commons on 19th June 1940.

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Photo of Mr Gilbert Gledhill Mr Gilbert Gledhill , Halifax

asked the Postmaster-General whether Members may be granted the privilege of priority telephone calls from their constituencies when dealing with Departments on urgent Parliamentary or national matters?

Photo of Mr William Morrison Mr William Morrison , Cirencester and Tewkesbury

Owing to the heavy priority demands which are being made on the telephone service al the present time, it is essential to impose a rigid restriction on the use of the priority facility and, in the circumstances, I regret that I cannot extend the privilege of making priority calls in the manner suggested by my hon. Friend. If, however, hon. Members should find it necessary to make any individual calls of urgent public importance, they should have no difficulty in obtaining early connection if the position is explained to the supervisor.

Photo of Mr Gilbert Gledhill Mr Gilbert Gledhill , Halifax

Is my right hon. Friend aware that firms engaged on direct Ministry of Supply contracts have this privilege of priority, and surely it is reasonable that, if a Member takes up some particular complaint or difficulty which firms are experiencing, he should have that privilege on that particular occasion?

Photo of Mr William Morrison Mr William Morrison , Cirencester and Tewkesbury

As I have explained, individual cases of public importance can be dealt with, but the House will appreciate that the more priority facilities are extended in number the less valuable they are.

Photo of Mr Gilbert Gledhill Mr Gilbert Gledhill , Halifax

Will my right hon. Friend tell me how the Member is to obtain that particular privilege?

Photo of Mr William Morrison Mr William Morrison , Cirencester and Tewkesbury

Yes, Sir. If there is any case which an hon. Member feels to be of sufficient national importance, he should ask for the supervisor at the exchange and say, "This is a matter of importance," and explain who he is, and then facilities will be granted in every possible way.