So many people across the country have been rightly horrified in the scandal that the ITV drama Mr Bates vs. the Post Office has brilliantly brought to a wider audience. It is undoubtedly one of the greatest miscarriages of justice in recent British history.
The victims of this scandal have been steadfastly campaigning for years and it is brilliant to see their efforts to expose this scandal and get compensation finally rewarded.
Labour has called for all sub postmasters to be exonerated in full, so we welcome the Government’s announcement on this to bring forward legislation to overturn all convictions that were based on evidence from the Post Office.
We must ensure that all those who were convicted are exonerated, not just pardoned and that those who received convictions via the pre-Horizon scheme are also included within this legislation and new compensation scheme.
But it is not right that it has taken so long for these brave victims to get even this close to justice.
This scandal has exposed some deep weaknesses in our system and Parliament’s ability to hold organisations like the Post Office to account.
We must act on the back of this failure: clamp down on the ability of corporations to take private prosecutions in this way and clearly there must be criminal investigations into the actions of senior Post Office executives.
Labour will bring forward proposals to ensure that the right to bring private prosecutions is never again abused in this manner and on this scale.