EMMA LEWELL-BUCK MP: I hope those responsible for the Post Office scandal one day understand the hurt they have caused
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The rage I, and my affected constituents, have long felt over the post office scandal is matched now by the rage of the entire country after the airing of ITV’s ‘Mr Bates V The Post Office’. The dramatisation opens up this scandal to the nation, uniting people in calling for long overdue justice and compensation.
These sub-postmasters from the outset of the Post Office introducing the Horizon computer system were reporting problems.
Instead of the Post Office listening to them, it took the draconian approach of terminating contracts, hounding them out of their businesses and pursuing prosecutions. What followed was charges of theft and fraud, loss of homes, bankruptcy, loss of life savings, loss of freedom and tragically for some the taking of their own lives.
After years and years of abdicating their duty to the sub-postmasters, this week the Government finally announced they would introduce legislation to exonerate all those wrongly accused and to provide compensation.
The former CEO of the Post Office Paula Vennells has handed back her CBE after being forced to, not because she felt she should. This is a small gesture in comparison to the pain of the sub-postmasters and their families. But there are so many others, Fujitsu, Government Ministers, Post Office bosses who also need to publicly answer for their failings because for years, despite their innocence, sub-postmasters were vilified and treated like criminals when those culpable, were doing, and continue to do, just fine.
As I watched the ITV dramatisation, I thought about those sub-postmasters I know who have suffered and knew they would be feeling triggered by it - because once you have suffered such an injustice it stays with you forever. This is something they have had to live with.
I sincerely hope those responsible one day understand the hurt they have caused, because that is a burden that they themselves should have to live with, not the sub-postmasters.