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Post Office and Horizon Software — [Steve McCabe in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 2:50 pm on 5th March 2020.

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Photo of Paul Scully Paul Scully Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Minister of State (London) 2:50 pm, 5th March 2020

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr McCabe.

I congratulate my hon. Friend Lucy Allan on securing this important debate about the Criminal Cases Review Commission’s review of the convictions. As we heard, there has been a lot of human cost to what has happened over the past few years, and as the new Post Office Minister, I will dedicate my time to ensuring that we can see this through, keeping the Post Office on its toes, so that we come to a proper conclusion that means something to the postmasters who have suffered in the past. We also want to give confidence to the postmasters of the future about their ability to work in the network.

I am responding to the debate, rather than a Justice Minister, because, as I suspected, the debate has widened beyond the CCRC part of the situation. I hope to respond more fully to those wider points.

Tonia Antoniazzi asked what hope we can give to the victims about timescales. That will obviously depend on the complexity of each case so, yes, although we want to get this dealt with as soon as possible—it has without doubt been going on a long time—just having a tick-box approach would not be fair on those postmasters or give the answers that we need to move forward.