Comparison of Divisions: Post Office Closures — Suspend for issues to be re-assessed — rejected — 19 Mar 2008 at 18:45 with Division No. 132 on the same day at 18:45
Vote (a) : Post Office Closures — Suspend for issues to be re-assessed — rejected - 19 Mar 2008 at 18:45 - Division No. 131
The majority of MPs voted to reject the motion put forward by the Conservative Party:
- This House -
- regrets the proposal to close up to 2,500 post offices;
- recognises the vital role post offices play in local communities;
- notes the concern and unpopularity amongst the general public of closing such a large portion of the network;
- has concerns that the access criteria laid down for the closures consultation do not adequately take into account local geographical factors and public transport networks;
- is concerned that the consultation period is only for six weeks rather than three months, as recommended by Cabinet Office guidelines;
- believes that post offices must move with the times in the services they offer and that options for business expansion and developing business opportunities with local authorities should be explored further; and
- calls upon the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform to instruct Post Office Limited to suspend the compulsory closure of sub-post offices while these issues are re-assessed.
An alternative motion was proposed and voted through in the following vote.
Half of the rebels were absent in the second vote, which included two loyal Labour voters, Ian Cawsey and Julie Morgan, who did not appear in this first division. The BBC listed only those who voted against the Government.
-  Alan Duncan MP, House of Commons, 19 March 2008
-  Post Office Closures - Commends the Government's action, House of Commons, 19 March 2008
-  Comparison of Division 131 to 132, House of Commons, 19 March 2008
-  Post vote slashes Labour majority, BBC News, 19 March 2008.
Vote (b) : Post Office Closures — Commends the Government's action - 19 Mar 2008 at 18:45 - Division No. 132
The majority of MPs voted in favour of the motion:
- This House
- recognises the vital social and economic role of post offices, in particular in rural and deprived urban communities;
- notes the decline in post office customer numbers in recent years and the financial losses of £174 million incurred by the network in 2007;
- further recognises the effect of changes such as direct debit facilities and increased use of the internet for payment and communication;
- commends the Government's action to support the post office network with investment of up to £1.7 billion up until 2011, including an annual subsidy of £150 million;
- further notes that this subsidy did not exist under the last government and that without it thousands more post offices would be under threat; and
- urges the Government to continue working with Post Office Limited to ensure a viable and sustainable network for the future.
This followed a previous vote rejecting a motion to suspend the closure programme during consultation.
The debate is bisected by the announcement of a deferred division, making it inconvenient to access on a single page.
-  John Hutton MP, House of Commons, 19 March 2008
-  Post Office Closures - Suspension for issues to be re-assessed, House of Commons, 19 March 2008
-  Deferred division interruption, House of Commons, 19 March 2008
The measure of similarity between these two divisions is a calculation based on a comparison of their votes.
There were 646 MPs who could have voted in both of these divisions, and 3 voted the same way, with 540 voting in opposite ways. There were 84 MPs who didn't vote in either division, and 19 who voted in only one of them.
We invert the vote on the second division if it makes the distance closer (since the meaning of 'Aye' and 'No' are often interchangeable depending on how the question was put). In this case, they line up on opposite sides. An 's vote in in only one of the divisions contributes a factor of 0.2 to the distance. The calculation runs as follows:
([same-votes] + [differing-votes] + 0.2x[abstain-in-one])
(540 + 3 + 0.2x19)