Geoffrey Cox, MP for Torridge and West Devon, has condemned the decision of the Post Office Ltd. to ignore informed, relevant and well-thought out arguments" from thousands of people for the survival of rural post offices in his constituency. The MP, w

Geoffrey Cox, MP for Torridge and West Devon, has condemned the decision of the Post Office Ltd. to ignore "informed, relevant and well-thought out arguments" from thousands of people for the survival of rural post offices in his constituency. The MP, who last week, instigated a Commons debate on the closures, and has fought a vigorous campaign against them, criticised the Post Office's response to the consultation, as "feeble and inadequate" and appearing to be "for show only", but reserved his most scathing remarks for the Government who, he said had mandated the compulsory closure programme without clear and effective safeguards for vulnerable rural communities. Geoffrey Cox said: "The disproportionate burden of these closures in Torridge and West Devon, the fact that the axe will fall on the most vulnerable, and the profoundly damaging impact of them on isolated rural communities, is further proof, if more were needed, of the callous disregard of the Labour Government for rural interests. It is the Government that turned loose the fox among the chickens, and it is no wonder that, given carte blanche, it gobbled so many of them up. He continued: "The failure to set clear and effective guidelines against closure, where, for example, the post office supported the last shop in the village or where a rural community was isolated; the failures so far to ensure that outreach proposals were credible and sustainable, and that the consultation was more than a show, are to be laid firmly at the door of the Government. The Post Office's response to the overwhelming weight of argument appears so feeble and inadequate that one can only conclude that the whole thing has been for show only." The MP said that he would continue, in conjunction with Postwatch with whom he had recently met again, to apply pressure to save Bridestowe and Shebbear Post Offices, which are still under review, and would be writing to the Secretary of State shortly.