Ken Livingstone is threatening to derail the government’s programme to slim down the Post Office network with a legal challenge to Royal Mail’s plan to close 169 branches and two crown post offices in London. Financial Times

London's mayor said he had taken legal advice on the feasibility of a challenge to the plan on the grounds that the six-week consultation fell short of the 12-week minimum the government recommends as good practice for public consultations.

Royal Mail is almost halfway through a programme of 46 consultation exercises on proposals for achieving the government target of closing 2,500 of the more than 14,000 branches currently open.

The London plan, published yesterday, would reduce the network in the capital to 681 branches and 104 crown outlets – those directly owned by the Post Office – with a further 15 branches operated by WH Smith.