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.
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?
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.
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.