My dad was a sub-postmaster – we must punish cruel and callous Post Office bosses over the Horizon scandal
MR BATES vs The Post Office was compelling viewing and raised public awareness of one of the worst corporate scandals and miscarriages of justice in history.
Anyone watching will have been outraged by the financial and emotional suffering inflicted on the victims of the incompetent, cruel and callous actions of the Post Office.
As the daughter of a former sub-postmaster growing up helping in the family shop, I know how hard each one of those affected by this scandal worked to build up their business and become trustworthy and respected members of the community.
Sub-postmasters are the very embodiment of the entrepreneurial spirit investing in their communities, making sacrifices and working long hours to provide much needed services.
But these pillars of the community were battered, bullied and betrayed by systematic state failure.
The Post Office, courts and successive Labour and Lib Dem government ministers responsible for postal services all let them down.
Lives and livelihoods were ruined as hundreds faced prosecutions and convictions and thousands were hit by financial losses, smears and false allegations.
One of my constituents had his concerns about the now discredited Horizon system ignored by the Post Office.
Instead of listening and supporting him, they terminated his contract and ruined his reputation.
He lost his business, incurred financial losses of more than £100,000, and his marriage broke down. One of the thousands of innocent lives shattered by the Post Office and Fujitsu.
Not only did the Post Office fail to show any reasonableness and decency, they covered up evidence of their own wrongdoing and conspired to hide the truth about the errors, faults and problems with Horizon.
Questions and concerns raised by MPs were ignored, while deceitful and dishonest responses were given to representations made, including the replies I received when supporting my constituent.
Even now, with convictions being overturned, some compensation being paid out and a public inquiry taking place, evidence is being withheld and those responsible have never been punished.
While sub-postmasters are still fighting to receive the compensation they deserve, rebuild their lives and clear their names, executives at the Post Office who presided over these miscarriages of justice have avoided being held to account for their actions.
None have shown remorse or regret. In fact, they took fat cat pay cheques, moved on to senior roles in other organisations and in the case of Paula Vennells was given a CBE as the organisation that they led maliciously destroyed innocent lives.
That’s why we need to see all powers necessary used so they can face justice, punishment and censure.
We must also do what’s right for our sub-postmasters and move quickly to overturn convictions and pay out full and appropriate levels of compensation.
Alan Bates and the brave heroes who suffered, fought courageously and won should be honoured for their fortitude and their experiences and campaign for justice and truth must never be forgotten.