Essex

MP criticised for holding surgery in Halifax bank

  • 21 March 2014
  • From the section Essex
The poster
Image caption Labour blogger Matthew Dent said MP surgeries should be open to all constituents

An MP has been criticised for holding a constituency surgery exclusively for Halifax bank customers.

The poster advertising the Rochford and Southend East MP James Duddridge's surgery was put up outside the bank's Southend High Street branch.

It was spotted by Labour blogger Matthew Dent who said such surgeries should be open to all constituents.

The Conservative MP said the reason the session was only for Halifax customers was a shortage of space in the branch.

Mr Dent, who is also a Labour candidate for Southend Borough Council, said it was wrong to hold a session purely for customers of a particular bank.

But Mr Duddridge argued that he held surgeries in a variety of locations, as part of efforts to meet his constituents.

He had met constituents in community centres, supermarkets, a DIY store and a fish and chip shop in the past, he said.

The MP agreed that only running "exclusive surgeries" would be "wholly inappropriate".

On this occasion, he said, Halifax had a small branch and there were concerns about crowding in the banking hall.

"So they just wanted it to be for people in the banking line," he added.

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