Thursday, February 01, 2024

Ed Davey apologises for "not seeing though Post Office lies"

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Three week after repeatedly refusing to apologise over the Post Office Horizon scandal, Ed Davey has apologised.

He has done it in an article for the Guardian and a specific and limited way:

The Post Office Horizon scandal is the greatest miscarriage of justice of our time, and I am deeply sorry for the families who have had their lives ruined by it. As one of the ministers over the 20 years of this scandal, including my time as minister responsible for postal affairs, I’m sorry I did not see through the Post Office’s lies – and that it took me five months to meet Alan Bates, the man who has done so much to uncover it.

The Post Office is owned by the government but not run by it, so the official advice I was given when I first became a minister in May 2010 was not to meet Bates. He wrote again urging me to reconsider, and I did then meet him that October. But he shouldn’t have had to wait,

When Bates told me his concerns about Horizon, I took them extremely seriously and put them to the Post Office. What I got back were categorical assurances – the same lies we now know they were telling the subpostmasters, journalists, parliament and the courts.

Maybe the tone is a bit too "I'm a victim here too, guys." Maybe, when Ed says "the Horizon scandal has shaken me to my core," you may reflect that he is surprisingly innocent for an experienced politician. Certainly, it would have been better if it had been made three weeks ago. 

But it's done, and he does go on to make some good Liberal points about unaccountable power.

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