10 January 2024 – today’s press releases

  • PMQs Horizon scandal: It should never have had taken this long to get justice
  • Minister admits Dowden made ‘mistake’ by failing to sack Vennells from £17,500 government job

PMQs Horizon scandal: It should never have had taken this long to get justice

Responding to the Prime Minister’s announcement that the government will be setting forward new primary legislation to overturn wrongful convictions during the Horizon scandal, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson, Alistair Carmichael MP said:

The announcement is to be welcomed but hundreds of wrongfully convicted postmasters should never have had to live this long with such appalling injustice.

It has taken more than four years since the landmark High Court judgment exposed the Post Office’s lies.

Lives have been ruined and families have been devastated.

It should never have had taken this long to get justice. It is only to the credit of all those brave postmasters who campaigned to right this wrong that we are finally seeing the start of progress.

Minister admits Dowden made ‘mistake’ by failing to sack Vennells from £17,500 government job

The Liberal Democrats have called on the Deputy Prime Minister, Oliver Dowden, to come clean over his failure to sack disgraced ex-Post Office CEO, Paula Vennells, from her senior government position even after the full extent of the Horizon scandal was exposed.

It comes after the Postal Affairs Minister, Kevin Hollinrake, admitted in Parliament that the failure to remove her was a ‘mistake’, in response to a question by Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader, Daisy Cooper.

Daisy Cooper asked why Vennells was not sacked as a Director at the Cabinet Office after the landmark High Court judgement on the Horizon scandal in December 2019. Hollinrake replied to the point by saying that ‘with hindsight, many people would see that as a mistake’.

Vennells remained in her government role until March 2020. She was paid £17,500 of taxpayers’ money over the period she held the role, including £15,000 in the year 2019/20.

Following the exchange, the Liberal Democrats have called on the current Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden – who was Minister for the Cabinet Office when the High Court judgement was handed down in 2019 – to apologise for failing to sack Vennells as soon as the courts made clear the extent of her disastrous failings in the Horizon scandal.

Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader, Daisy Cooper MP said:

It beggars belief that Conservative Ministers appointed Paula Vennells to a top job in the heart of Government and handed her a CBE in 2019.

Oliver Dowden needs to come clean over his failure to sack Vennells from her government job the moment the full extent of this horrific scandal and the full extent of the Post Office’s appalling behaviour was revealed.

Nobody rewarded Paula Vennells more than this Conservative government: the victims and the public need to hear an explanation as to why.

Read more by or more about , or .
This entry was posted in News and Press releases.


  • Of course Alistair Carmichael is right to say this shouldn’t have taken so long. It would strengthen his position though if this view had been taken during the ministerial five year stint of Ed Davey, Norman Lamb and Jo Swinson as post office ministers. It would also have helped if Sir Ed had decided to be present during PMQs and the Ministerial statement on compensation yesterday.

  • @David Raw. Do you honestly think Ed Davey would miss PMQs without good reason? As it happens he was caring for his severely disabled son after care arrangements broke down at the last moment.

    And were you also aware that Ed was the only minister to meet with Alan Bates?

  • Thank you for your response, Mary. One naturally has much sympathy for Sir Edward’s well known personal circumstances. It is a pity and unfortunate that on such an important much anticipated day (including more than just PMQ’s) Sir Edward’s back up care system was inadequate. It is to be hoped a more robust system can be arranged for future events including the General Election.

    I’m sorry, but I don’t normally look at Baroness Grender’s twitter account. I’m not sure how many people do. I recall though she used to be the one time party PR guru under Sir Nick Clegg and she has Kingston connections. It’s possible her comments may have had more force and widespread publicity if issued through the normal party HQ channels.

    Of course I am aware of reports that, “Ed was the only minister to meet with Alan Bates”. Two questions arise. Was there an outcome or any follow up to the meeting and, by implication, are you suggesting nothing was done by way of questions/followup under the stewardship of Norman Lamb and Jo Swinson in the years, 2012-15 ?

  • @David Raw As a fellow Lib Dem why do you seem to repeat (and presumably believe) what you read in the right wing gutter press rather than your fellow members? And in election year? Why assume Quentin Letts, of all people, is a more reliable interpreter of events than Ed Davey or Olly Grender?

    And have you ever had to deal with a domestic crisis when care arrangements break down? I have. Child showing signs of a recurrent serious condition; childminder ill; friend’s child has chickenpox. I lose a day’s pay because my boss thinks like you.

  • The BBC website today gives an account of the lies and legal threats used by Post Office executives in an attempt to suppress evidence prior to the Panorama programme in 2015. In view of that it is not hard to believe Ed Davey when he says that they also lied to him five years earlier

  • Mary Reid, Whilst no party or individual comes out well in the Horizon scandal, I’m more and more concerned that this site, and the Party, are ‘circling the wagons’ on the issue of our involvement in the debacle..Alan Bates has spoken of how Ed Davey’s response to his concerns were not only “disappointing”, but also “offensive” …

    In May 2009, Computer Weekly broke the story about problems with Horizon software and in September 2009 subpostmaster Alan Bates set up Justice for Subpostmasters Alliance (JFSA)…In 2010, as the minister responsible, Ed Davey should have questioned his ‘advisors’ rather than accepting bland assurances. In 2012, at the very least, he should have been aware that ‘Second Sight’ were carrying on an investigation into Horizon..

    It was LibDem ministers who held the PO posts from 2010 until 2015…On ‘our watch’ Private Eye magazine reported that Post Office Ltd had ordered Second Sight to end its investigation just one day before the report was due to be published, and to destroy all the paperwork that it had not handed over….

    After 2015 the current government were responsible for the situation and that, together with the Post Office’s criminal behavior, should be hammered home at every opportunity..The Wellingborough and Kingswood by-elections will happen in mid-February and will Ed Davey be an asset, or a liability, in the campaign?

  • Nonconformistradical 12th Jan '24 - 12:43pm


    “The Post Office threatened and lied to the BBC in a failed effort to suppress key evidence that helped clear postmasters in the Horizon scandal.

    Senior managers tried to smear postmasters before Panorama broadcast an interview in 2015 with a Fujitsu whistleblower……..”

  • Chris Moore 12th Jan '24 - 5:43pm

    Ed had the wool pulled over his eyes.

    No minister at the head of a state business should expect executives of said business to lie through their teeth.

    I believe Ed and Norman and Jo were all naive; you cannot – sadly – simply accept assurances. You have to look into them for yourself, when there are indicators of something going wrong.

    No post minister from 1999- today has covered themselves in glory.

  • Alex Macfie 12th Jan '24 - 6:01pm

    @expats: I’ve not seen any call to action for either Wellingborough or Kingswood. So it doesn’t look like we’re going to fight either of them seriously. This is not at all surprising, as both are Con~Lab battlegrounds with no history of Lib Demmery. It means that Ed isn’t likely to turn up at either. However, the Tory blame-deflection game seems to have shifted its focus to Keir Starmer and what he knew, did and didn’t do when he was DPP (perhaps the Ed-baiting bandwagon has run out of road). So it’ll be more a matter of how the scandal affects Labour in the by-elections. He’s previously seen off a very similar trope, that as DPP he supposedly helped Jimmy Savile escape justice. I fully expect the claims about both Ed and Starmer in relation to the PO scandal to be similarly discredited.

  • Chris Moore 12th Jan '24 - 8:15pm

    Post Ministers from all three main parties made the same mistake: assurances from PO executives weighed more heavily than the experience of postmasters/mistresses.

    Governments of all shades failed to act, then dragged their feet. No party comes out well.

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?


Recent Comments

  • Alex Macfie
    @David Raw: So? They were exclusively Lib Dem ~ Tory battleground seats (we lost seats to Labour in 1997), won by us when the Conservatives were self-destructin...
  • nigel hunter
    Roland you mean GBnews is in trouble so they have to 'stir it' to get an audience?...
  • Roland
    >” I’d expect Floella to be polite but highly critical of the delays in compensating victims of the Home Office and, indeed, those administering the Sche...
  • Cassie
    'Not all farmers are rich...' Indeed. The average income of lowland grazing livestock farms in 2022-23 was £21,600. Upland farms lost £10,400 on average fr...
  • Roland
    Re. Lee Anderson Been here before not that long ago… This is about creating “news” for GBnews.....