Parliamentary support growing for postmasters’ justice fight

Postal, Post Office (PO), Postmasters

Dozens of MPs from across Westminster’s political parties have signed an Early Day Motion (EDM 593) asking for a full public inquiry into the persecution of hundreds of postmasters, who were wrongly accused of financial improprieties which were actually due to a faulty computer accounting system, Horizon.

Back in February, Prime Minister Boris Johnson responded to Parliamentary Questions on the matter with a promise to hold an inquiry – but last week, Under-Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Paul Scully disappointed everyone by announcing a limited ‘Government Review’.

Justice for Sub-Postmasters Alliance campaigners, who successfully won £58 million in compensation from the Post Office, sharply criticised the planned review as inadequate, a view which was also shared by the forensic accountancy firm Second Sightwhich was appointed to investigate Horizon – both organisations announcing that they will not participate in the review.

In a communication to JFSA members, campaign founder Alan Bates described the review as a “sham” and added: “We will refuse any invitations to attend or submit documentation to this review.
“We will only assist a judge-led public inquiry – and would do so gladly.”

Yesterday, Darren Jones MP (Bristol North West), who chairs the BEIS Parliamentary Select Committee, wrote to Mr Scully explaining the key inadequacies of the proposed review, noting that it would have ‘no subpoena powers to summon witnesses and compel them to give evidence under oath’.

Mr Jones ends his letter insisting that ‘a statutory judge-led Public Inquiry needs to be able to establish the truth…for those who have awaited justice for so long’.

And increasing the pressure for justice, Kevan Jones MP (North Durham) has tabled EDM 593, which ‘expresses concern at the scope and formation’ of Mr Scully’s review and ‘strongly urges the Government to institute a judge-led public inquiry’.   

Speaking this morning, CWU assistant secretary Andy Furey says: “The review announced last week is totally inadequate for the task of holding to account those responsible for the Horizon scandal, or for the delivery of justice.

“The CWU, of course fully supports the statements from the Justice for Sub-Postmasters Campaign, the IT company Second Sight, the Chair of the BEIS Select Committee and the MPs who have signed EDM 593.

“It’s great to see MPs from all political parties supporting the demand for a full, judge-led Public Inquiry,” Andy continues, “and what we as a union need to do now is to encourage as many MPs as possible to add their names to EDM 593.

“So please take a look at the list of MPs who have signed and ask yourself: ‘Is my MP’s name there’?

“If not, then please email your MP and ask them to sign.

“The more Parliamentary support we can gain for this demand, the more likely it is that justice will prevail for all postmasters and those responsible for this gross miscarriage of justice will be held accountable.”