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Horizon Post Office Scheme

Volume 678: debated on Tuesday 21 July 2020

What steps he is taking to support sub-postmasters affected by the Horizon post office scandal. (905050)

The independent review of Horizon will provide a public summary of the failings that occurred at Post Office Ltd, which I hope will give postmasters the answers that they have been seeking all these years. It will also ensure that lessons are learned for the future.

Last month, the Government announced an independent review of the Post Office’s Horizon IT system scandal that led to hundreds of postmasters being fired, many going bankrupt and others even being imprisoned. The Post Office Horizon scandal will go down as one of the biggest civil injustices ever. To restore public confidence and bring justice to the many lives ruined, it is vital that each individual case is assessed and that rightful compensation is paid to all those affected. A judge-led public inquiry is the only answer; will the Minister commit to that now?

I am grateful to the hon. Lady for her question and her continued highlighting of the sub-postmasters’ situation. I hope to announce the chair of the review very soon so that we can start on it at pace in September.

The Post Office Horizon scandal is one of the biggest miscarriages of justice of our times: 20 years of reputations ruined, families torn apart and lives lost. Sub-postmasters were betrayed by a Post Office that so persecuted them that what compensation they have won has largely gone on legal fees, and they have now turned to the parliamentary ombudsman to investigate the full costs of a Government that failed

“to undertake its statutory duty of oversight”.

As we break for our summer holidays, will the Minister finally do the right thing and commit to a full, judge-led inquiry that will get to the bottom of the wrongs suffered and deliver both justice and compensation?

The chairman or woman of the review will be announced in due course so that we can start the review of this injustice in September at pace. It is important that we speak to the Post Office, the Government, the sub-postmasters and other people, including at Fujitsu, to get to the bottom of this matter so that we can learn the lessons and move forward for the sub-postmasters of the future.