MP sets record straight on PO plans

BO’NESS Labour MP Michael Connarty has re-affirmed his opposition to proposed Post Office closures. He made his comments after SNP claims in the media, which Mr Connarty said were “not based on the truth”. He sets the record straight in a letter to the Bo’ness Journal, republished here. He says: “I met with the Minister responsible for the Post Office (Pat McFadden MP) in July 2008 to argue against the closures and particularly against any closures that the Post Office might propose in my constituency.”

Sir, –  It is important that letters to the press are based on verifiable facts. The SNP letter published in your edition of August 29 was just not based on the truth of my record in defending the Post Office. I opposed the present proposal to shut Post Offices during the consultation which ended in March 2007.

When the deal done with the Post Office to ‘‘limit’’ the number of closures to 2,500 was announced in a Commons statement in May 2007, I opposed the closures. The SNP know there are never votes on the statement, so there was no question of voting FOR or AGAINST the closures.  It was a done deal.  I did not vote for closures. 

When the Tories held debates on the closure plans on May 10, 2007 and March 19, 2008, I refused to vote for the government’s motion to defend the closures.  Instead I organised a meeting with the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, and argued they should abandon the closure programme.  The Prime Minister can verify that.

I met with the Minister responsible for the Post Office (Pat McFadden MP) in July 2008 to argue against the closures and particularly against any closures that the Post Office might propose in my constituency. 
The late Harry Ewing MP  asked me to take on his role, and I have been the Secretary of the Postal Workers’ MPs Group for more than 10 years, fighting FOR the Post Office network against cuts.  It is one of our vital services that should not be treated as a free market.

I also believe that the Post Office have ignored the criteria that post offices should not be shut in areas which have problems caused by having an elderly or less mobile population such as Grangepans or isolated like Newton.  My duty is to lead the fight to save services for my constituents.

I will not be volunteering another Post Office for closure but fighting alongside my constituents as the verifiable facts prove I have consistently fought since this closure programme was announced. – Yours etc.,
Michael Connarty MP

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