After PMQs yesterday, I rushed to Five Live to do Simon Mayo – and guess what – Post Offices were the issue of the day!
Loads of emails into the program expressing the rage and anger felt by local people everywhere. The Labour MP on the panel, Celia Barlow was really put on the spot by Mayo. The Opposition Day debate in the afternoon with a vote at 7pm was to put a moratorium on the proposed closures giving time for more creative solutions to be found.
Now Celia is in the position of many Labour MPs of having voted through the procedure last year which set off the new round of closures, but now is camaigining locally to save Post Offices in her constituency. So – when given a second chance to vote the right way on the issue, what was she going to do?
If enough Labour MPs voted for the motion, the consultation and the process would have to be halted. But Celia said she didn’t think she would go through the lobbies with the Tories. I know it’s not easy to defy the whip – but in this case – where you are saying something locally, you really should have the gumption to back it up with a vote in Parliament.
Some Labour MPs did – but if only another 10 or so Labour MPs had switched – we could have won the vote. Desperately close. And what makes me angry is that this is yet another case of Labour politicians saying one thing (“we care about saving Post Offices”) but then doing another (as is also the case locally – where far from helping Salisbury Road Post Office, Labour-run Haringey Council has hit it with a huge financial bill).
In the evening I played host to our Kurdish community at Parliament for the celebration of Newroz.
There is a large and now very active Kurdish community who face terrible discrimination in Turkey and other places.