Whoops she did it again

There has been some debate about whether our local MP Emily Thornberry did, or did not, vote for post office closures last year. What’s clearly on the record is that she did vote against an Opposition motion which said “…condemns the Government’s short-sighted plan to close 2,500 sub-post offices…”.

And at the same sitting she voted with the Government FOR a long amendment which failed to express any condemnation or regret about closures and instead said “…endorses the Government’s firm commitment to ensuring the continuation of the network, while acknowledging the widely held view that its present size is unsustainable; supports the Government’s approach of allowing Royal Mail the freedom to respond to future commercial challenges and opportunities, and in particular enabling Post Office Limited to determine the future shape of the network within clear Government rules…”.

So did Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn, who, unlike Ms Thornberry, is a regular rebel. In fact, no Labour MPs rebelled on that vote.

Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt. Let’s assume that back in January 2007, they believed that the rather pompous Government motion wasn’t code for closures. Perhaps the Whips were in particularly terrifying form. And maybe they believed that with Islington having already lost 10 Post Offices, there was no way that their own area could possibly be facing more cuts from their own Government.

Roll on a year. It’s March 2008. Two more Islington sub-post offices, at either end of Caledonian Road, are scheduled to close; plus the busy Crown Post Office at Essex Road. So are neighbouring post offices in Highgate, on Blackstock Road and Murray Grove, Hackney, all used by some Islington residents. It’s clear that the axe is falling on Islington, and that local people are angry.

Another Parliamentary motion is tabled. It “calls upon the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform to instruct Post Office Limited to suspend the compulsory closure of sub-post offices while these issues are re-assessed”. A Government amendment is also tabled which notes the financial losses made by the Post Office and deletes the proposal to suspend closures.

The amendment and the motion give our MPs a clear choice: to stop closures or continue them. We know beyond doubt that these closures are now affecting Islington. But what about the Whips? Not that terrifying evidently; because 20 Labour MPs rebel, including Jeremy Corbyn, and neighbouring Hackney MP Diane Abbott.

And what about Emily? She voted with the Government. For closures. Again.


1 Comment »

  1. […] Of course, when it comes to hypocrisy over our Post Offices, Ms Thornberry has form. […]

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