Two days after Falkirk Council unanimously agreed to investigate new ways of providing post office services in Falkirk the political consensus was blown apart 400 hundred miles away in the Palace of Westminster.
A motion to call a halt to the current round of post office closures was debated within the House of Commons but defeated by 20 votes after a division of MPs.
The margin of the Labour Government’s victory in securing a parliamentary majority for continuing the cuts in the post office network was secured despite 19 Labour MP’s voting against the government’s closure program and supporting the opposition motion.
The SNP within Falkirk Council have hit out at the fact neither of the local Labour MP’s, Eric Joyce (Falkirk) or Michael Connarty (Linthlithgow and East Falkirk) were amongst the Labour MPs prepared to go against the party whips and support local protestors campaigning to keep post offices open.
In a scathing attack SNP Group Leader, David Alexander, accused both MP’s of “double standards in voting for post office closures while claiming to support local community groups campaigning against closure.”
The SNP chief also accused the Labour MPs of being out of touch with the views of local people.
Commenting on the vote Mr Alexander said,
“Both Mr Joyce and Mr Connarty are an embarrassment to their local constituents who are fighting hard to retain their local post office services against the continued attacks of the UK Labour government.
They must be aware that their actions hit the most vulnerable yet they were happy to troop into the government lobby and deny these people their post offices.
These are the actions of politicians more afraid of their party whips than of their local communities and that is an affront to the whole principle of representative democracy.”
The Falkirk constituency has lost eight post offices recently, seven as part of the post office closure program of the Labour government and the Bainsford office which closed when the sub post master retired recently. The part of Falkirk district that sits within the Linlithgow and East Falkirk Constituency, including much of the Braes, Grangemouth and Bo’ness are bracing themselves for announcements of closure within the next few moths.
The SNP are promising to step up their campaign to not only fight the closures but against the local Labour MP’s who voted for them.
Said Councillor Alexander,
“Our local MP’s want to spin the line that while they voted for the closure program they did not vote for the specific local closures.
That is dishonest and demonstrates complete contempt for local people. We are therefore determined that the debate will be open and the actions of Mr Joyce and Mr Connarty will be open to proper scrutiny.”