MP calls for public inquiry into Post Office scandal
- Credit: Parliament TV
A Norfolk MP stood up in the Commons to urge Boris Johnson to call a "judge-led public inquiry" into a scandal that left 39 Post Office workers wrongly convicted.
Duncan Baker, North Norfolk MP, spoke about the Horizon scandal at Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday.
It follows a Court of Appeal ruling on Friday that cleared the names of the former sub postmasters and mistresses more than a decade after many were wrongly found guilty of stealing or defrauding the Post Office out of thousands of pounds.
Mr Baker said: "As probably the only former sub postmaster in parliament, last Friday's ruling was the beginning, not the end.
"Yes, it will cost money and yes, it will take time and there is more compensation that is needed, but does the prime minister agree that only a proper, judge-led public inquiry can really give justice to those victims of this horrendous accounting scandal and also hold to account those involved behind the scenes?"
Mr Johnson said he agreed that what happened to the Post Office workers was "appalling" but he did not outright back the need for an inquiry.
He said: "It was one of the biggest miscarriages of justice in our history and we are indeed looking at the issues involved, and the former High Court judge Sir Wyn Williams will be making recommendations about the further apologies we need to make."
Among those wrongly convicted were at least two former sub-post mistresses from Norfolk - Siobhan Sayer, who worked at Erpingham Post Office, and Allison Henderson, who worked at the Worstead branch.
Mrs Sayer, 55, was given a suspended jail sentence at Norwich Crown Court in 2010 after she was falsely convicted of defrauding Royal Mail out of nearly £19,000.
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Prosecutors said she had falsified accounts over a period of 13 years. But the problem was with a faulty computer system called Horizon which the Post Office installed in 1999. The software was also to blame for the other false convictions, although Mrs Sayer said they were told their cases were unique.
Speaking last week, she said: "Slowly but surely over the years you realised you were not the only one, and that's when we all got together."