closure if one is given a reprieve, and has called for the practice to stop.
General secretary George Thomson made the call as he spoke to MPs on the Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform committee at the House of Commons. He said he believed the method brought the closures consultation into question and that he could understand why it led many people, including MPs, to believe the programme was a sham.
He told MPs: "The one-for-one policy is wrong. If an office is reprieved, I don't believe we should automatically substitute it for another."
Speaking to Convenience Store, Thomson added: "It's totally unacceptable that if one office is saved, another is put in its place. I've told the Post Office that this has to stop. It's not fair that a subpostmaster is suddenly told at the eleventh hour that he could close. If it is stopped, although it might mean that the target of 2,500 offices is not quite met, the network would still be in a far better position for the future."
Closure announcements have now been issued in 10 regions across the UK. The latest have resulted in three 'saved' offices in the Merseyside area and two in Leicestershire, but another three offices have already been earmarked for closure and further consultations are continuing. Seven outreach services will also replace current branches in Leicestershire.
Eight sub post offices in Sussex have been granted a stay of execution after intervention by Postwatch. The eight offices, which include four in Horsham as well as those in Bexhill, Hastings, Eastbourne and Lewes, are joined by two in Liverpool city centre, which are under further review while details are gathered on a crown office's relocation to a WH Smith store in the city. Consultations have also closed in North Yorkshire and West Berkshire.
Postwatch delivered oral evidence to the Commons committee last week. Post Office bosses are due to speak to committee members about the closures this week.
A Postwatch spokesman added: "We have contested a number of proposed closures mainly on the grounds of access to another branch and the ability of that branch to cope with the custom."