BUSINESS QUESTION – BANK BRANCH CLOSURES – 2 March 2006

Dr Julian Lewis: When the Leader of the House concedes a debate on the threat to thousands of post offices – as I am sure that he will, given the non-partisan way in which he exercises his office – will he frame its terms broadly enough to include a discussion of the closure of thousands of bank branches? That will enable us to raise the concern of our constituents that 20 per cent of all bank branches have closed in the past 10 years, and that the promise not to close the last branch in town is being systematically undermined by the stretching of that commitment if, for example, there is branch in another village four miles away.

[Geoff Hoon: It has always been a delight to debate these issues with the hon. Gentleman, because he is what I would call a proper Conservative. He believes in conserving things even in the face of obvious market forces ... ]