Saturday, March 29, 2008

Hypocrites and accusers

Today the Daily Echo have published a letter from Alan Whitehead MP; here is his letter in full and my reply to him;

Dear Sir,

LAST week the Echo ran a story about a national Conservative campaign to accuse all Labour MPs who had objected to Post Office closures in their constituency of hypocrisy, since they had voted against a Conservative motion in the House of Commons calling for a temporary halt to closures.

The accusation against me was based on the fact that I had responded to the consultation sent out by the Post Office proposing to close four post offices in my constituency.

I looked at the criteria they set out for the service levels after the proposed closure and concluded that in one instance people would not in reality have a Post Office within a mile of their homes, and in two other instances even if they did, it would be very difficult to use such alternatives because of obstacles such as dual carriageway roads between them and the proposed alternatives.

advertisementFurthermore, the post office had closed a branch (Aldermoor) when a franchisee left, and had not even consulted about its permanent closure. Whilst I believe the post office Network needs to be economically viable nationally, I didn't think the proposed closures fitted into the post office's own criteria, and this was why I objected.

What emerged during this debate though, was that Conservatives were not prepared to commit themselves to any funding to keep post offices open, agreed with the idea that the national Post Office Network needed to be economically viable, and worse still would not even commit themselves to continue the Governments £1.7 billion of support for the network that is currently being paid. In other words, if Conservatives were in Government, far more post offices would be under threat than is presently the case.

In the light of this, the hypocrites here seem to be the accusers, rather than the accused!

Alan Whitehead, MP Southampton, Test.


Dear Letters Editor,

If Alan Whitehead objects to being called a hypocrite (Echo Letters 29 March), he may wish to consider being more a little more consistent.

Alan Whitehead is a man who lectures on the dangers of child obesity, yet as the register of members interests shows, accepts corporate hospitality from McDonalds. He is opposed to nuclear power, yet supports a government that are pledged to support the building of a new generation of nuclear reactors. Alan Whitehead is a man who sits on the board of a power company and then complains in parliament about fuel prices. And lest it be forgotten, Alan Whitehead is a man who sits on the House of Commons Standards and Privileges Committee yet recently had to be stopped distributing political campaigning literature about speed limits to schoolchildren.

Perhaps it is not surprising then that some people think it is a little hypercritical that Mr Whitehead campaigned to save Post Offices locally but chose not to vote to save them in parliament under pressure from Labour Party Whips?

What Southampton needs are strong local MPs who will fight for our interests in parliament, not new Labour careerists on the make.

Yours sincerely,

Matthew Dean.


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