I am conscious that we all come to this debate with our own scars of individual experience. Mine came in the ward of Kingsholm, a few hundred yards from where the Domesday Book was written, in my constituency of Gloucester. There, only two years ago, I watched my predecessor pose beside photographers while standing under a banner that proclaimed, "Save our post office", but then vote in this Chamber against a motion to halt post office closures. Glenda Jackson said that she was concerned about the prospect of a big broken society. What I saw that day in Kingsholm was the very model of a big broken Government.
I did not take up the position of secretary of the all-party group on post offices to sit in the Chamber and watch another programme of 500 post office closures be passed. I have always believed that the best way forward is through a combination of much greater investment in Royal Mail, which handles the sorting, delivery and collection, and greater commercial freedom for post offices, which are independent small businesses; they are franchises and they need to be able to channel more services to our communities over their counters.