At the urgent Commons statement on the Post Office Horizon compensation and convictions update on Monday evening 8th January 2023, Dr Neil Hudson MP spoke in the Chamber regarding the tragic miscarriage of justice of innocent postmasters who were falsely prosecuted due to the failings of the computer system, Horizon.
The recent ITV drama, Mr Bates vs The Post Office, has brought this issue back into the public eye. An independent public inquiry with a statutory footing, led by Sir Wyn Williams, has been investigating the scandal since February 2021. An interim report can be found here.
Dr Neil Hudson MP said in the Commons Chamber:
“The Post Office Horizon IT scandal was an outrageous miscarriage of justice, affecting so many innocent postmasters and their families. Many constituents have contacted me to express their concerns and outrage over this miscarriage.
Can my Honourable Friend reassure me again, and the House, and indeed the country that this Government will do it all it can to compensate all the victims as soon as possible, including looking at exonerating them all collectively, so that this wrong can be made right, both swiftly and compassionately?”
In response, Kevin Hollinrake MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for Enterprise, Markets and Small Business) said:
“I agree with him, we are looking for a process where all victims can be compensated quickly. We have got compensation schemes in place already, sixty-four per cent of those affected have been compensated, but certainly in terms of overturning convictions a collective exoneration is something again we are looking at and seeing what is legally possible.
That of course would then open the door to compensation, rapid compensation, immediate compensation, £600,000 for people who chose that route. The full assessment does take more time and people would have to choose what is the right route for them of course. It should deliver on all the ambitions he sets out.”
Speaking afterwards Dr Neil Hudson MP said:
The recent ITV drama, Mr Bates vs The Post Office, has brought this issue back into the public eye and I thank the producers and everyone involved in the programme. This is public broadcasting at its best. The House of Commons last night was united on this issue and I welcome that the Government is looking at urgent ways of bringing justice and restoration to all the victims of this scandal as soon as possible.