A press release that came out of a meeting I had tonight in Bowthorpe:
CLARKE'S POST OFFICE CHALLENGE
Will our so-called local MP back our local Post Offices, asks Little
Antony Little, the Conservative Parliamentary Spokesman for Norwich South, has hit out at threats to local Post Offices by demanding that Charles Clarke lay down an amendment to a Conservative motion to help guarantee the survival of Post offices such as the one on Leopold Road in Norwich.
Antony issued this challenge to Charles Clarke:
"Currently, the Post Office is closing around 1/3rd of the 9,000 urban post offices in the UK. No Post Office should shut without wide ranging consultation and no post office should shut where it hits elderly or disabled people in our society.
In January, Conservative MP Michael Fabricant issued this Early Day Motion on behalf of the Conservative Trade & Industry team:
CLOSURE OF URBAN POST OFFICES 15.01.04
That this House calls on the Government to ensure that the Post Office closure programme for urban post offices is conducted systematically and only after first consulting all relevant parties including post office users, local public bodies and authorities and the relevant honourable Member of Parliament, allows for adequate time for such consultation, takes into account not only the distance between existing post offices but also physical obstacles such as hills, rivers, canals and major roads between each post office and the nature of the community served by each post office including factors such as deprivation and concentrations of older or disabled people, has special regard to the level of deprivation in the area being served by the post office, and takes the views of both the public and Postwatch into account before announcing any closures; believes that the Government's failure to intervene has resulted in the closure of urban post offices which would have remained open had a systematic closure programme with full consultation been undertaken by the Post Office; and therefore deplores the closure of any post office which did not take these factors fully into account.
"I now call upon Mr Clarke to substitute the names of the post offices in this motion - from "any post office" to "Leopold Road Post Office, Norwich."
"By laying down this amendment, Mr Clarke can show he is serious about saving our urban post offices."
"The Post Office is at the centre of our communities, and the systematic shutting of them under Labour is a disgrace. With the Lib Dems after privatisation of the Post Office, we Conservatives are ready to stand up for them."
Antony is set to make the challenge as he launches the Conservative Campaign in Bowthorpe this evening to an audience of local people.