Yeovil MP speaks up for sub postmasters
Marcus Fysh addressed a debate on an inquiry into the subpostmaster scandal yesterday. Mr Fysh whose constituency also includes Ilminster and Chard has had a lot of correspondence on the issue. Now the Government is to launch a public inquiry into the behaviour of the Post Office. The Government owned service (it is only the Royal Mail that is privatised) prosecuted several sub postmasters for fraud. This arose from discrepancies in the accounting for funds using a new system, Horizon. The Post Office vigorously pursued postmasters through the courts. Despite apparently being fully aware of issues with the Horizon software installed by Fujitsu.
Marcus Fysh challenged Paul Scully, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Minister of State (London)
“Sub-postmasters often operate in very small communities where everybody knows each other. This has been an incredibly painful experience for them, their families and their communities. I welcome the establishment of the inquiry, but will the Minister please assure us that it will not be a whitewash? Many sub-postmasters in my constituency are anxious to know that.”
In some ways it is a non-question. What possible reply could the Minister give but the one he gave?
“Yes, I can assure my hon. Friend that it will not be a whitewash. I am determined to get the answers we need from the Post Office and Fujitsu and, indeed, from Government in terms of our role. We want to hear from sub-postmasters about their stories, their evidence and their losses. It is now for Sir Wyn Williams, a retired judge, to get to the bottom of it and to get those questions answered.”
As ever the proof of the pudding will arrive in due course. Meanwhile in the face of repeated denials and outright factual inexactitude this case might never have come to public attention. It is worth pausing to recognise Private Eye and the journalist Nick Wallis for their work in revealing all.