Exclusive: Royal Mail sale is off

There’s been speculation over whether the bidders were putting in a good price, there’s been talk about putting off an auction. But it doesn’t matter anymore.

Last night’s difficult Parliamentary Labour party meeting, plus the House of Commons’ future business papers, make the situation clear: the Postal Services Bill that opens the door to up to half of Royal Mail being sold off, has been dumped from the Government’s legislative programme. Harriet Harman refused to answer questions on the subject, apparently preferring to let the business papers do the talking.

It could come back, of course. But with Labour MPs and activists alike despairing of the party’s fortunes, how soon are they going to revisit such a toxic issue, one that could lose them votes as well as union backing? (N.B. The Communication Workers Union is not likely to vote for disaffiliation at their conference next week however, as the executive is against it.)

What this means for Lord Mandelson, who on Sunday said he was “not for turning” on part-privatisation, remains to be seen. Lindsay Hoyle, one of the MPs leading the fight against mail sale, wryly says: “He’s a very capable minister. Why leave them in one position when you can move them to one that needs fixing?” Reshuffle should be interesting.

Update: I should make clear, the situation according to MPs is that the bill doesn’t appear to be being debated at any point in the next three to four weeks. That takes us to within three weeks of the long summer recess…

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One Response to “Exclusive: Royal Mail sale is off”

  1. kevin_m Says:

    As a CWU member, I find this really encouraging. On the other hand, this would mean that the leadership of my beloved union has been capable of organizing a successful pressure campaign. After our oh-so-wonderful strike in 2007, I’ll believe it when I see it.

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