KATE OSBORNE MP: People need to be held to account for the lies and lives destroyed in Post Office Horizon scandal

This week has been extremely busy with my focus being holding the Government to account on justice for sub-postmasters that have been affected by the Post Office Horizon scandal of which some constituents have been deeply affected by.
The ITV drama brought the scandal back into the public spotlight. Photo by courtesy of ITVThe ITV drama brought the scandal back into the public spotlight. Photo by courtesy of ITV
The ITV drama brought the scandal back into the public spotlight. Photo by courtesy of ITV

This is an issue I have campaigned on continuously since being elected to Parliament. I have asked numerous Ministers questions in the Chamber, wrote letters to Ministers, submitted EDMs to Parliament, and managed to get the former Prime Minister to agree to an independent review into the issue which led to the hearing that is currently taking place.

It is a shame that it has taken an ITV drama to push the Government into action. Too many people have died before receiving justice and those who are still fighting are enduring physical, emotional, and mental stress, yet the Government, Fujitsu and the Post Office were and are still doing all they could to block justice.

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Since the program there have been hundreds of new cases come forward – we had one very high profile case in our constituency with Chris Head who petitioned the Prime Minister with me in 2020 and this week we have had two new people get in touch.

Nationwide 200 new people have come forward since the program – how upsetting to think that for decades they have been alone in this fight for justice and only now feel able to come forward.

As an employee of Royal Mail before I was an MP I was aware of these cases and when elected one of the first things I did was meet Chris Head about his campaign – Chris, from Boldon, was the youngest sub postmaster and has tirelessly campaigned for justice – Chris has still not received a penny – the offer he has been given is less than 15% of what we believe his total claim is worth.

There has been much talk about compensation – yet most haven't even been given back the money that was fraudulently taken from them – let alone compensation – and how can you compensate for decades of lives being on hold, the reputational damage or for people losing their parents before they have seen justice.

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This week I also called for people from the post office, Fujitsu and all who knowingly perverted the course of justice to be held to account – it is those people who should be hounded and sent to prison for the decades of lies they told and thousands of lives they destroyed.

In terms of Fujitsu not only will they take 2 BILLION out of the Horizon IT system over the lifetime of this contract – they have built up a fortune whilst lying about the little people (as the sub-posties call themselves)

The arrogance of these people lying over and over believing they would always get away with it – exposes how things work in this country – the corruption, the scandal of corporate power, the bullying and exploitation of fear – the hounding of people forcing them into false confessions and plea bargains to avoid prison when they were innocent.

The dirty money that they have corruptly obtained should be used to give back to the sub-post masters and mistresses.

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The post office is wholly owned by the Government – so who should pay the bills – the taxpayer has essentially paid 32 million on the post office's legal fees and will now pay the bill for their corruption.

Yes Fujitsu should contribute to the finances – but they also need to be held to account and of course we should not keep handing over more money – Fujitsu lied for decades, they knew the software was plagued with issues from its introduction, at the very least they should not be given any new contracts, but every contract they have should be reviewed.

I asked in October last year for new contracts to stop being awarded and for a review of all their contracts to be undertaken - I asked the same question last week and the Minister said they will be looked at when we know the outcome of Sir Wyn Williams’s review.

So why are we still giving hundreds of contracts to Fujitsu? Any due diligence would show Fujitsu is not a fit and proper company.

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You have to wonder if it is maybe linked to the fact that Simon Blagden, Chairman of Fujitsu, donated £376,000 to the Conservatives,

I will not be grateful that 20 years later Fujitsu said sorry and agreed to contribute to compensation.

People need to be held to account for the lies they told and the lives they destroyed. I will keep fighting until the subpostmasters get the compensation and full restoration of their finances and the justice they deserve.