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Horizon Settlement: Future Governance of Post Office Ltd

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:30 pm on 19th March 2020.

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Photo of Kevan Jones Kevan Jones Labour, North Durham 3:30 pm, 19th March 2020

I will come back to that, which is something that I think my hon. Friend Karl Turner will refer to in his contribution.

The board minutes from 1999 show that the Post Office knew there were bugs in the system and software problems. It denied all the way through that, for example, the amounts that sub-postmasters inputted could be changed. That was just not true. It could be remotely done, and the hon. Member for North West Leicestershire and his constituent Mr Rudkin, who visited the headquarters where the data was being stored, proved that. In classic style, when he raised that the Post Office denied that he had ever visited the data centre in the first place, until he proved that he had. It was just one cover-up after another. The denial culture in the Post Office was described by Judge Fraser, in what I thought was a very good his judgment, as

“the 21st century equivalent of maintaining that the earth is flat”,

because the evidence was there all the way through. There is no way that anyone who took an objective look at the system, in terms of the Post Office or Fujitsu, the contractor, could argue that it was perfect.