Get a grip and pay the subpostmasters

Last week there were two questions asked in the House of Commons during Prime Minister’s Questions about the Post Office scandal. How refreshing it is to see this finally becoming a regular part of parliamentary debate after so many years as a topic that attracted minimal attention.

Because of terrible leadership at the Post Office, a complete lack of accountability at board level and among the many ministers in charge of the Post Office, and political posturing between the two, it’s taken nearly 15 years since Computer Weekly first exposed the scandal for it to make it to the top of the government agenda.

And yet, during a marathon five-hour session of the business and trade select committee meeting the previous day, we heard little more than a litany of terrible leadership, lack of accountability and political posturing. Only when three of the subpostmaster victims, including lead campaigner Alan Bates, shared their thoughts did the focus turn to where it should be.

It’s clear there is only one question that should be asked of the Prime Minister, and it should be asked every week until the answer is yes: “Have the subpostmasters all been paid yet?”

All we’ve heard lately is business secretary Kemi Badenoch attacking former Post Office chairman Henry Staunton over claims he made after she sacked him. We’ve heard Staunton dropping CEO Nick Read into a pile of excrement by revealing Read’s threats to resign without a pay rise. And then we’ve heard back from Badenoch’s department stirring the pot further. It’s obscene. Ms Badenoch, Messrs Staunton and Read – may we remind you, you are not the victims here.

People in positions of power and responsibility will flail around and point fingers everywhere else when faced with threats to their position. The truth is finally catching up with the Post Office and the government, and they all need someone to blame. It’s incredible that nobody is able to get a grip on the scandal – even in an election year; even as a transparent attempt to win votes – and simply do the right thing.

Data Center
Data Management