Results 1–20 of 3000 for (in the 'Commons debates' OR in the 'Westminster Hall debates' OR in the 'Lords debates' OR in the 'Northern Ireland Assembly debates') speaker:Kevin Hollinrake

Post Office Board and Governance (28 Feb 2024)

Kevin Hollinrake: I sat there for five hours listening to all the evidence that was given to the Select Committee yesterday. Several serious allegations have now been made against the Government, my Department and its officials by Henry Staunton. His most recent revelation is that there is an ongoing HR investigation that involves both him and the Post Office CEO Nick Read. I have to say as a former chair that...

Post Office Board and Governance (28 Feb 2024)

Kevin Hollinrake: I should say that the Secretary of State is abroad at a World Trade Organisation conference. I thank the hon. Lady once again from this Dispatch Box for all that she does on behalf of postmasters. Interestingly, in his evidence yesterday, Mr Staunton said that he had no concerns over the speed of compensation, which I think astounded both the hon. Lady and me. We have been fighting for years...

Post Office Board and Governance (28 Feb 2024)

Kevin Hollinrake: I thank my hon. Friend for her question and for her work on the Select Committee. It is one thing to criticise Ministers, but entirely another to sully the good name of a civil servant. Sarah Munby has been very clear in her letter that she published on this matter that Mr Staunton is wrong. She has also been very clear that she has contemporaneous notes of that meeting, and we will be...

Post Office Board and Governance (28 Feb 2024)

Kevin Hollinrake: When the hon. Lady says that I was “selective” about what I said, is she accusing me of being economical with the truth? If so, I would take exception to that. It would be absolutely wrong for anybody in this House to disclose information about an investigation that has not concluded and where the presumption of innocence must apply for the individuals concerned. If she thinks I should...

Post Office Board and Governance (28 Feb 2024)

Kevin Hollinrake: I will not give way, as I am answering the hon. Lady’s question.

Post Office Board and Governance (28 Feb 2024)

Kevin Hollinrake: I did find what happened yesterday unedifying, but that was about one person; everybody else who gave evidence yesterday was clear that there was no sense ever of trying to slow down compensation. Neither do I think the hon. Lady is right to say that postmasters are further away from getting compensation; it is quite the opposite. To imply that and so raise questions about the compensation...

Post Office Board and Governance (28 Feb 2024)

Kevin Hollinrake: I thank my hon. Friend for his question and for his work on the Select Committee. He is a doughty champion in this area and many others relating to the Committee’s work. There are some lessons we need to learn; the Post Office certainly requires the right kind of skills and the right kind of person to turn it around. That is clearly a work in progress and I do not think people will be...

Post Office Board and Governance (28 Feb 2024)

Kevin Hollinrake: I do think the chaos was caused by one individual. I sat through the whole session; for the bit I was not in the room with the right hon. Gentleman, I was watching on television. It is right for people to be able to say that they are not satisfied with the speed of compensation. I have said that time and time again from this Dispatch Box, and we are keen to accelerate the process and make...

Post Office Board and Governance (28 Feb 2024)

Kevin Hollinrake: I thank my hon. Friend for his work on this issue as one of my predecessors; I know that he was as keen as I am to ensure that full and fair compensation is paid to all individuals. As I said, there is no limit to the amount of compensation that we will set aside to ensure that people are compensated properly for this horrendous scandal.

Post Office Board and Governance (28 Feb 2024)

Kevin Hollinrake: To be clear, we terminated Mr Staunton’s role as chair of the Post Office not because of bullying accusations. There was an 80-page report, which he referred to yesterday, and which I have not read. He freely admitted in yesterday’s evidence session that he was named in that report. To what extent, I do not—[Interruption.] Well, that is what Mr Staunton said; he said that it was to a...

Post Office Board and Governance (28 Feb 2024)

Kevin Hollinrake: I think on two occasions Mr Staunton lobbied for a pay increase for Mr Read. He sought to double the overall package of Mr Read on those occasions.

Post Office Board and Governance (28 Feb 2024)

Kevin Hollinrake: First, may I correct the record? In response to the Chair of the Business and Trade Committee, the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Hodge Hill (Liam Byrne), I said that the fixed sum award was £650,000; it is £600,000. It would be wrong to disclose an investigation into somebody’s conduct before that investigation had concluded. It would be extraordinary to do that in any work context,...

Post Office Board and Governance (28 Feb 2024)

Kevin Hollinrake: On the last point, my right hon. and learned Friend is absolutely right; he clearly understands these situations very well. They should of course be kept confidential, which is why it was highly unprofessional of Mr Staunton to say what he said yesterday. On my right hon. and learned Friend’s first point—I cannot remember what it was now.

Post Office Board and Governance (28 Feb 2024)

Kevin Hollinrake: We are absolutely committed to ensuring that we have the resources available to settle compensation claims quickly. Certainly, a file note that I took away from yesterday’s session was about the number of individuals looking after compensation from Addleshaw Goddard’s end, although it is turning around the offers increasingly quickly. Responses to full claims now happen within 40 days in...

Post Office Board and Governance (28 Feb 2024)

Kevin Hollinrake: I think what we actually heard and saw was a dysfunctional former chair of the Post Office; that is what we saw. Interestingly, to the right hon. Gentleman’s point about compensation schemes, the former chair said at one point during his evidence that he had no concerns about the speed of delivery of the HSS—which was extraordinary, because I have many concerns about it. I hear loud and...

Post Office Board and Governance (28 Feb 2024)

Kevin Hollinrake: Thankfully, not me. I have nothing against Mr Staunton personally. He had a strong track record as the chair of various large organisations, as he said yesterday. I think we would all agree that the Post Office is a specific organisation with specific challenges. Yesterday’s evidence from Ben Tidswell, the senior independent director, was interesting. He felt that Mr Staunton’s behaviour...

Post Office Board and Governance (28 Feb 2024)

Kevin Hollinrake: I totally agree with the hon. Gentleman’s final point, and a number of the points he made. It is fair to say that on the compensation schemes, we could use the old phrase, “If you were going there, you wouldn’t start from here.” I think that Sir Wyn Williams has said that, but the best way now is to say, “When you’re going through hell, keep going.” We have to improve the...

Post Office Board and Governance (28 Feb 2024)

Kevin Hollinrake: I will be very pleased to ensure that that happens. I met the Northern Ireland Justice Minister virtually a few days ago to discuss these matters. I know that the Northern Ireland Administration’s preference is for UK-wide legislation; we do not think that is the right approach, but we will continue to work with the Administration to ensure that they can deliver the right legislation or...

Post Office Board and Governance (28 Feb 2024)

Kevin Hollinrake: I thank the hon. Lady for her question and for representing her constituents so effectively. I am keen to have continued conversation with her. All the schemes that have been established thus far require a contractual relationship between the Post Office and the individual, and I know that was not the case for her constituent. A number of Members of this House have addressed the issue, and we...

Post Office Board and Governance (28 Feb 2024)

Kevin Hollinrake: I thank the hon. Lady for making that point and for representing her constituents so well. Yes, absolutely, we understand that this is distracting, or could distract, from work to ensure not just that we make right the wrongs of the past, but that the Post Office has a strong future, as she put it. I totally agree. We think that the Post Office does have a strong future. Revenue streams have...


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