Labour plans last-ditch bid to halt Royal Mail sale

Reuters

BRIGHTON, England (Reuters) - Labour party will seek to halt the privatisation of the Royal Mail postal service by calling a last-minute parliamentary debate on the issue, the party's postal spokesman told Reuters on Tuesday.

Earlier this month the Conservative-led coalition government notified markets of its intention to sell off a majority stake in the 497-year old delivery service through a public listing in the coming weeks.

The government is determined to push through a sale despite investor concerns over the threat of union-led strike action and criticism from the opposition Labour party, who have yet to rule out renationalising the firm if they win a 2015 election.

"We're trying to reflect the strength of feeling among the public against this and say to the government it's not too late to change their mind," Labour lawmaker Ian Murray told Reuters at a party conference in the seaside resort of Brighton.

"We thought we would push as hard as we can to find a way for one last House of Commons vote," he said.

Although some coalition politicians have privately expressed unease over the sale, fearing it may affect support from rural constituents, Labour is unlikely to win cross-party support to derail the privatisation. Parliament passed legislation in 2011 paving the way for the privatisation of Royal Mail.

(Reporting by William James; editing by Guy Faulconbridge)

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