COUNCILLOR Gordon Clark has accused Tommy McAvoy MP of blaming the council for the closure of Mill Street Post Office.
Councillor Clark, who represents the Rutherglen Central and North ward, was speaking after the local MP was critical of the council for not making a representation to Royal Mail at the original consultation stage in 2006.
However, Mr McAvoy has accused the SNP councillor of misinterpreting his comments for political gain.
Councillor Clark said: “It beggars belief that Tommy McAvoy is trying to pass the blame for post office closures onto the local council. In my opinion, and I say this as a member of the council’s opposition group, South Lanarkshire Council could have done no more than it did to prevent post office closures.
“As a local elected member of the council I circulated a consultation form to all households in the area to allow local residents the opportunity to make their voices heard. The leaflet criticised no one for the closure plan but merely urged people to respond, and using the information from the hundreds of responses received I formed a submission to Post Office Ltd.
“What more does Tommy McAvoy think that the council and its elected members can do?”
Councillor Clark backed the view of council leader Eddie McAvoy, who went against his own government and called on Westminster MPs to change their mind over the closure of 2500 post office branches across the UK.
He said the blame lay squarely with the Labour administration: “If Tommy McAvoy wants to find someone to blame for our post office service being destroyed then he should do no more than look in the mirror.
“Tommy McAvoy, along with his fellow Labour MPs at Westminster voted not once, not twice, but 13 times for the Westminster Government's closure plan. They alone are to blame for the closures.
“I say to Tommy McAvoy, change your mind or you may have to change your job.”
However, Mr McAvoy hit back, saying: “Clearly Councillor Clark misunderstood the article in last week’s Reformer.
“I pointed out that when the original consultation was launched from the Government as far back as 2006, no response was made directly by the Council.
“One of the key issues raised was how local authorities could be more involved in using post office services and what potential there was for co-locating services.
“It is obvious that no SNP councillor at the time sought to ensure that the Council made a response. I hope Councillor Clark is not trying to deliberately misinterpret my comments for seemingly political ends."