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London Assembly calls for Royal Mail renationalisation

THE London Assembly has called for Royal Mail to be renationalised — ahead of a key meeting at which Labour Party and union activists are likely to clash with leader Ed Miliband on public ownership.

Labour member Murad Qureshi slammed the “cherry-picking” of postal profiteer TNT in a motion to the Assembly on Wednesday, saying that private companies were choosing to deliver post in just the most lucrative of areas.

A Green Party amendment, accepted by Labour, added a call to “lobby the government to bring the postal service back into public ownership.” The motion was passed with the body’s nine Tory members opposing — and the abstention of two Liberal Democrats.

Today, delegates to Labour’s national policy forum will head to Milton Keynes, where public ownership of railways and the post will be on the agenda.

Labour’s leadership has been resistant to calls to renationalise the Royal Mail and backs the state bidding against private companies for rail franchises rather than full state control.

But London Assembly member Tom Copley, who seconded the Labour motion, urged the party to adopt bold policy on public ownership ahead of next year’s election.

“Royal Mail’s privatisation was a scandal which took a profitable business out of public ownership and placed it into the hands of private investors for less than it was worth.

“I hope Labour’s national policy forum will adopt a policy of renationalisation when it meets.”

And in a blog, left Labour MP Katy Clark said the current climate offered a “golden opportunity” for rail renationalisation — and could hold the key to a general election victory.

“In September the government will be forced to take public control of Network Rail,” she said.

“This is because ministers have finally had to accept that a company that is completely funded by the public has to be in the public sector.”

“At the same time new polling has shown that a policy of publicly owned rail would actually make Tory, Ukip and Liberal voters switch to Labour in marginal commuter seats in such numbers as to have an impact on the general election.”

Motions at the coming weekend conference tabled by train drivers’ union Aslef and party members’ representatives will call for rail franchises to be brought back under government control when they expire.

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