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Ed Davey has serious questions to answer over Post Office scandal, victims say

Sir Ed Davey was postal affairs minister from 2010 to 2012 and has been accused of having ’fobbed off’ victims

Archie Mitchell
Monday 08 January 2024 09:51 GMT
Post Office scandal: Jeremy Hunt says government aims to speed up compensation

Sir Ed Davey has “serious questions to answer” over his role in the Horizon IT scandal and should consider quitting, former Post Office branch managers have said.

The Liberal Democrat leader was postal affairs minister from 2010 to 2012 and has been accused of having “fobbed off” victims of the scandal, which has been described as the most widespread miscarriage of justice in UK history.

More than 700 branch managers were given criminal convictions after faulty Horizon accounting software, developed by Fujitsu, made it appear as though money was missing.

And now ex-postmasters have urged Sir Ed to “look in the mirror” and consider stepping down.

Jo Hamilton, who led a landmark appeal in the campaign for postmasters, told The Times that Sir Ed should have “done his job”. The Lib Dem leader was told of concerns about the faulty software before hundreds of postmasters were prosecuted.

Ed Davey has ‘serious questions to answer’ over the Post Office scandal, victims have said (PA/Getty)

And Ms Hamilton said: “Of course Davey should have been asking more questions, he’s the minister, what does he get his ministerial salary for if he’s not asking questions. What did he think, we were just moaning? I can’t believe it.

“If you’re the minister you deal with stuff — that is the job. You have to earn your money for doing the job like the rest of us. They’re called public servants but they do anything but serve the public.

“He always calls for other people’s resignations, now it’s time for him to look in the mirror.”

Sir Ed has taken to Twitter 31 times to call for public figures to resign their positions since becoming Lib Dem leader in April 2019.

A spokesman for the Lib Dems said Sir Ed “completely understands the anger of the victims who suffered from this appalling miscarriage of justice”.

“In hindsight he wishes he could have done more to help them,” they added.

The spokesman said Sir Ed had been lied to “on an industrial scale” by the Post Office and other ministers.

“His focus is now on getting justice and compensation as quickly as possible to all those affected,” the spokesman said.

Lib Dem MP and former leader Tim Farron said: “Ed has said how much he regrets that the Post Office was lying to him, just like it was to everyone else.

“He’s experienced more than his fair share of tragedy in his life, I know he feels the pain of those affected by this scandal very deeply.”

Another former postmaster Seema Misra, who was jailed while pregnant in November 2010, while Sir Ed was postal affairs minister, said he should quit.

She told The Times: “He was in a position of power, and he could have stepped forward to find out what was going on. He could have turned the whole thing around, but he chose not to. He’s definitely liable.”

The renewed focus on the scandal comes amid a new ITV drama, Mr Bates vs the Post Office.

Alan Bates, played by Toby Jones, has spent two decades of his life fighting for justice after hundreds of fellow postmasters and postmistresses were accused of theft, fraud, and false accounting due to faulty computers.

In 1999, Horizon, a defective Fujitsu IT system, began incorrectly reporting cash shortfalls at branches across the country. The accusations tore people’s lives apart, with many losing their jobs and homes.

Several people took their own lives due to the stress.

To this day, not a single Post Office or Fujitsu employee has been held to account over the scandal, much less faced criminal investigation. Sixty of the victims have died before finding any justice at all.

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