The quest for accountability: still fighting against Post Office injustices

Date:

MP Chris Loder confronts the Post Office’s leadership, offering unwavering commitment to the Horizon scandal victims

Before I proceed, I would like to wish you, your families and your friends a very happy and prosperous 2024 – I do hope you had an enjoyable Christmas. I was organist at no fewer than three carol services, and I was overjoyed to see so many people coming to church to celebrate the birth of Jesus through the nativity (always wonderfully performed by children) and through listening to lessons and singing carols.

The arrogant board
I am always delighted to spend time inn our post offices in West Dorset and with their staff and sub postmasters, especially the ones I see most in Sherborne, Beaminster and Dorchester. Their work is incredible. These people have for a long time been community-driven, and I would like to place on record how grateful I am for everything they do.
But my respect for the senior management of the post office? Quite a different thing.
I find them disingenuous, greedy and predatory – so much so that I called out their lies in the House of Commons last year. Not just about the Horizon system itself, but their own behaviour.
The Post Office board attempted to award itself enormous executive bonuses which, after parliamentary intervention, were halted.
This, when many people deserving damages from the Horizon nightmare had not (and still have not) been paid, and when they have screwed down the transaction fees for our post offices to such a minimal amount that some postmasters can barely get by.
Their arrogance is unbelievable.

Four point plan
The Post Office Horizon outrage is something that has sickened me since being in Parliament.
Here in West Dorset, thankfully only one sub postmaster was a victim of this scandal. But that was one too many. Across the country many were falsely accused, and some have died since – without getting their names cleared. It is one of the worst institutional scandals in living memory.
I have spoken in the House of Commons on numerous occasions about this and while progress has been made, it needs to be quicker. The Metropolitan Police has this week announced it is investigating criminal proceedings.
The Mr Bates vs The Post Office drama on ITV was shocking to watch. So much is clearly laid out and brought into sharp focus – we the public have frequently looked on at this issue without properly understanding what actually happened.
But I want to let you know that I will stop at nothing until we:
Get Paula Vennells stripped of her CBE*
Remove the appeals and recompense process from the Post Office itself.
Get real and proper justice for every person who has been affected by this.
Get an answer out of the Leader of the Liberal Democrats as to why he took £275,000 from the Post Office’s legal firm who were fighting the sub-postmasters.
Ed Davey, the current leader of the Liberal Democrats, was Post Office minister in the coalition government during this time. He should answer to parliament why it is that, when he was the minister, he ignored the calls for help. Maybe the Lib Dems will be able to shed some light on that in next month’s edition.
Ed Davey worked as a consultant on political issues and policy analysis for Herbert Smith Freehills, from 2015 until November 2021. HSF is the firm engaged by the Post Office during the Horizon period. During this time, and continuing, many sub-postmasters were (and are) fighting to clear their names.
As always, if I can help, you can contact me by email:
hello@chrisloder.co.uk
or write to me at
House of Commons,
London, SW1A 0AA.

*Paula Vennells has since handed back her CBE

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