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I am sure that no one in the Chamber would accuse we Scots of being parochial, but I wish to take a moment to thank the posties of East Lothian, who delivered the Christmas mail in the most difficult of circumstances. Even more locally, I thank my own postie, who delivered my Scottish Affairs Committee papers and, I am sure, would have been pleased with the report contained in his delivery.
It is sad that this place has made one so young so cynical so quickly. I have had to learn a whole new language, because this Government speak in code. I could almost hear the theme tune from "Born Free" as the Minister spoke about setting free the Royal Mail.
This is a Government who do not believe in public service. When my hon. Friend Ian Murray asked the Minister to provide assurances that no post offices would close as a result of the measures in the Bill, I once again learned that Ministers often do not answer the questions put to them. This is an issue of genuine concern to my constituents, but there is nothing in the Bill to reassure them. This is shotgun legislation from an adulterous coalition. There may be no programme of post office closures, but I am sure that post offices will close. I am sure that the Minister must have a trumpeter's lip by now, because he has been blowing his own trumpet all day, talking about "post office local" and how he has no plans for vans, but there were no plans to raise VAT, so I am not going to take that as a promise.
Debate interrupted (Programme Order,
Mr Speaker put forthwith the Question already proposed from the Chair (