UK Post Office Chairman sacked for revealing Govt told him to slow down compensation for Postmasters. Gov’t says he’s lying.

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Post Office scandal: Kemi Badenoch hits back at ex-chairman

By Nick Edser
Business reporter

18 February 2024

Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch has hit back at claims made by former Post Office chairman Henry Staunton about the reasons for his departure.

Mr Staunton told the Sunday Times that when he was sacked Ms Badenoch had told him: “Someone’s got to take the rap.”

But Ms Badenoch said the comments were a “disgraceful misrepresentation” of their conversation.

Mr Staunton also said he was told to delay payouts to Post Office scandal victims, which the government denies.

Hundreds of subpostmasters were prosecuted because of glitches in the Horizon IT system between 1999 and 2015 in what has been called the biggest miscarriage of justice in UK history.

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Mr Staunton was appointed Post Office chairman in December 2022, but left the post last month after Ms Badenoch said “new leadership” was needed to tackle the scandal.

Speaking to the Sunday Times, Mr Staunton said he first heard about his sacking when he was called by Sky News. He then spoke to Ms Badenoch on the phone.

Mr Staunton also told the paper that shortly after joining the Post Office he was told by a senior civil servant to slow down the rate of compensation payments, apparently to help the government’s finances.

“Early on, I was told by a fairly senior person to stall on spend on compensation and on the replacement of Horizon, and to limp, in quotation marks – I did a file note on it – limp into the election,” he told the paper.

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“It was not an anti-postmaster thing, it was just straight financials. I didn’t ask, because I said: ‘I’m having no part of it – I’m not here to limp into the election, it’s not the right thing to do by postmasters’.”

Image caption,
Henry Staunton stood down as Post Office chairman last month

In a lengthy post on X, formerly Twitter, Ms Badenoch said Mr Staunton’s comments were a “disgraceful misrepresentation of my conversation with him and the reasons for his dismissal”.

h/t bob uk carethnoto

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