Tag Archives: horizon

Should Ed Davey apologise for his role in the Horizon scandal?

One question which is being widely asked is whether Ed Davey should apologise for his role in the Horizon scandal.

Those who think he should base their case on the need for the victims, who had their lives ruined, to hear a sincere apology from someone. And, as Ed has already said that he regrets not doing more at the time, why shouldn’t it be him?

But what good would that do? Let’s look at where the heat on Ed is coming from. It’s mostly from the right wing press and so-called news organisations such as GB News. So what are they up to?

The Tories want to simplify this whole 20 year scandal down to Ed Davey’s actions in 2 years as a minister for cynical political reasons. They want a clip of him apologising, alongside a clip of Nick Clegg apologising for tuition fees to play ad nauseam to the very blue wall Tory voters both of us need to vote for us in the upcoming General Election. That’s it. It’s not about justice. It’s not about learning lessons. It’s about them fighting as dirty as they can.

Was Ed’s interview with ITV News yesterday the best one he has ever given? No. But Paul Brand’s agenda was very clearly to get a 30 second clip of Ed looking awkward. His line of questioning was more about public scapegoating than it was about actually getting answers.

In recent years, politicians under scrutiny have just avoided any sort of questioning, hiding in fridges or whatever to avoid prying journalists. At least Ed has showed willing on several occasions to proactively give media interviews and to acknowledge that he wished he had one more.

The victims of the appalling scandal deserve better than singling out a scapegoat. It’s not justice for the prevailing narrative to be “It was all Ed Davey’s fault, we can all pack up and go home now.” That is patently not true. There have been around 16 ministers with this responsibility during this time. And we might have a special mention for those in the past 5 years since the court judgement who have moved with the enthusiasm of a glacier to give justice to the victims.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 77 Comments

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.

Posted in News and Press releases | Also tagged and | 11 Comments

9 January 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Mental Health: Shocking stats show Govt are failing young people
  • Vennells CBE: Now Dowden needs to explain why he failed to sack her as a Cabinet Office Director
  • Surrey oil drilling given go-ahead: A shameful decision. Local MP, Jeremy Hunt must intervene

Mental Health: Shocking stats show Govt are failing young people

Ahead of Lib Dem MP Munira Wilson’s Bill to introduce mental health professionals into schools, statistics show that 61% of those waiting for mental health support had stopped attending school, college, university, or work.

  • 58% missed more than two weeks of school, 42% missed more than a month and 20% missed more than six months
  • A fifth of young people wait more than six months for help. While waiting, 41% said that their mental health got worse

These statistics show the catastrophic impact the lack of mental health provision is having on young people’s lives in both schools and in the workplace, leaving over half unable to attend.

In response, the Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson Munira Wilson MP will be introducing a bill to the Commons today which intends to give all state schools access to a qualified mental health professional.

Posted in News and Press releases | Also tagged , , , and | 1 Comment

Farron: Victims of Post Office scandal need compensation, not being weaponised by the Tories

The ITV drama Mr Bates vs the Post Office has highlighted the dreadful injustice suffered by so many sub postmasters, as John Barrett outlined yesterday.

I haven’t seen it yet, but I know it will be very uncomfortable to watch. Yet again in my lifetime, something has gone very wrong with a public service and it takes too long for the victims to be taken seriously. Windrush, Hillsborough, numerous health scandals are just a handful of others. Government needs to find a way of being much quicker to react when things go wrong and not just dismiss concerns until they are forced to deal with them, usually with the involvement of the judicial system.

We’ve seen several instances in the past few days of right wing commentators (former Sun editor Kelvin Mackenzie, not known for his listening to people complaining of injustice) among them have decided that this is a good opportunity to have a go at the Lib Dem ministers responsible for the postal service who were in office rather than talk about a way forward.

A letter from Ed Davey saying that he didn’t see what a meeting with the sub postmasters would achieve is being circulated. It’s dated 21st May 2010, which is a few days after he became a Minister. He actually did meet them in October of that year.

In the Guardian this week, Ed was reported as saying that he regretted not doing more when he was a Minister, honesty which is perhaps refreshing in an environment where people try to deflect blame on to others.

Speaking to Times Radio, he said: “I feel that I was deeply misled by Post Office executives … they didn’t come clean. There were definitely attempts to stop me meeting .

“We were clearly misled. I think ministers from all political parties were misled.”

In terms of what happens next he said:

Davey said Post Office executives were now “dragging their feet” and “not bringing evidence to the inquiry”.

He added: “Government ministers need to do more – I hope they watch this series and realise they’ve got to come forward with a proper compensation package.”

In an interview on BBC Breakfast on Thursday morning Alan Bates was given many opportunities to stick the boot in to Ed specifically by the interviewer and didn’t take the chance  to single him out.

Tim Farron took to Twitter last night to make some observations about the scandal, the current Tory blame game and what should happen next.

He said:

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 30 Comments

Justice and Truth for the Sub-Postmasters

For many years Liberal Democrats, like me, campaigned against the closure of Post Office branches, as we believed that every community which loses its local Post Office is poorer in a number of ways. They provided not only essential postal and banking services, but also a social hub and a lifeline for many, who did not have a bank account or access to the internet.

Ironically, those Sub-Postmasters whose Post Offices did close escaped the risk of being caught up in what has been described as the greatest ever miscarriage of justice in Britain, with several hundred innocent people losing their life savings, being made bankrupt and homeless, and in some cases losing their lives, because of the lies told and outdated powers that the Post Office used to prosecute – without the involvement of the Police. Many were falsely accused of fraud because of the determination by the Post Office to cover up an IT problem, which was known about for years.

This long running saga has once again come to the public’s attention with the broadcast of the television series, Mr Bates v The Post Office, which has retold the story as a drama which has left people shocked and outraged at the action of the Post Office, the Government and the legal system. With a number of heroes and leading the villains, the Post Office’s CEO at the time, Paula Vennells.  

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 12 Comments
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