Many constituents have contacted me about the Post Office Horizon scandal. I pay tribute to those who have campaigned on this issue for so long. Without their perseverance and dedication over the years there would have been no progress towards delivering justice. In response to your email – you will of course know that Paula Vennells, who headed the Post Office, handed hack her CBE after facing mounting pressure over the scandal.

I appreciate the depth of public anger and concern there is over the issue. This scandal is one of the great miscarriages of justice in British history and the scale of this injustice has rightly left people outraged. People lost their lives, their liberty and their livelihood, and they have been waiting far too long for the truth, for justice and for compensation. It is shocking that despite the landmark legal rulings in this case, many years later people have still not been able to access the compensation they are entitled to.

I agree that we need to deliver justice and compensation to the victims of the scandal as quickly as possible. Indeed, I have long supported efforts to press the Government on this in Parliament. You will know that Fujitsu has now admitted to being morally obliged to pay into the Post Office compensation scheme.

On 10 January, the Government announced that it would introduce legislation to overturn the convictions of all those convicted in England and Wales on the basis of Post Office evidence given during the Horizon scandal. I welcome this announcement and am ready to support the Government to deliver a solution that achieves that long-awaited justice and compensation at pace. While it cannot undo the historic wrongs victims have suffered, exoneration is vital to ensuring that justice is finally delivered for the postmasters who have undergone the trauma of wrongful conviction and is a vital step to securing their compensation. I also support calls for the Government to ensure compensation payments will immediately follow the overturning of convictions. Victims cannot continue to wait years for payments. In addition, I am committed to ensuring such a scandal can never happen again. We need to review the regulation surrounding private prosecutions so that they are never again abused in this manner and on this scale.

Thank you once again for contacting me. I can assure you that I will continue to support action to get the sub-postmasters the justice and compensation they deserve as swiftly as possible. I may also add that, as the Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, I am not able to speak up in Parliament in defence of the sub-postmasters but I am able to lobby ministers on their behalf.

Rt Hon Hilary Benn
MP for Leeds Central

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