Thank you to all those who have contacted me about the Post Office Horizon scandal. I pay tribute to those who have campaigned on this issue for so long and without whose perseverance and dedication over the years, there would have been no progress towards delivering justice.
I sympathise with the depth of public anger and concern there is over this issue. This scandal is one of the greatest 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 livelihoods, 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, several years later people have still not been able to access the compensation they are entitled to.
We need to deliver justice and compensation to the victims of the scandal as quickly as possible and I have long supported efforts to press the Government on this in Parliament.
On 10 January 2024, 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 its consequences, 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.
More widely, I firmly believe that such a scandal should 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.