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MPs savaged for failing to oppose postal closures

PUBLISHED: 16:34 27 March 2008 | UPDATED: 14:53 07 September 2010

CAMPAIGNERS and rival politicians have attacked MPs from Camden and Westminster who voted against a motion suspending post office closures. Last Wednesday MPs gathered to debate and vote on a Tory motion to suspend and allow further consulta

Katie Davies

CAMPAIGNERS and rival politicians have attacked MPs from Camden and Westminster who voted against a motion suspending post office closures.

Last Wednesday MPs gathered to debate and vote on a Tory motion to suspend and allow further consultation on the closure programme being put forward by Post Office Ltd .

But local constituents were left shocked when Glenda Jackson, Frank Dobson and Karen Buck - despite their strong campaigns against the closures - refused to vote in favour of the motion.

Mr Dobson, who represents Holborn and St Pancras and has demonstrated to keep Crowndale Road Post Office open, voted against the motion. Ms Buck, representative for Regent's Park and Kensington North, did the same despite campaigning outside the Formosa Street branch in Maida Vale. And Hampstead and Highgate MP Ms Jackson abstained.

Rivals have accused the MPs of ignoring their voters in favour of party-political interests.

Tory London Assembly member for Camden and Barnet, Brian Coleman, said: "I have been fighting hard to save the post offices across Camden and it is sad that the Labour Members of Parliament have not supported our campaign. They had a chance to save our Post Offices - an opportunity they have missed and for which we will not forgive them."

Lib Dem candidate for the Hampstead and Kilburn seat in the general election, Ed Fordham, said: "Residents wanting to save their post offices have been out in cold and wet weather collecting signatures and motivating their neighbours and wanted Glenda to vote for our local post offices. This was a real opportunity.

"The community is the poorer for this opportunity being lost, and the future of our post offices looks darker."

The opposition day motion was defeated by 288 votes to 268.

Ms Jackson told Parliament that she would not be voting for the Conservative amendment, which she said: "Comes from a party that when in government had absolutely no compunction in closing post offices, schools, hospitals, mines and heavy industry. However there is real concern in my constituency about the proposal to close three highly efficient and consistently well-used post offices."

Ms Buck also poured scorn on the motion. She said: "The Conservatives are not proposing any meaningful alternative - it is game-playing. If they had proposed spending £150million I would have seriously considered voting for it."

Only Finchley and Golders Green MP, Rudi Vis would have been willing to cross the floor, but was away on Council of Europe business.

He said: "I am surprised that politicians would vote against this rather than for it or abstaining, when clearly there are issues in their own constituencies with these closures."

Two more public rallies are taking place this week in protest at the closures. Tomorrow at noon, protesters will gather outside the Crowndale Road branch, while at 12.30pm on Saturday a similar demo will take place at South End Green.

katie.davies@hamhigh.co.uk

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