Kemi Badenoch accuses ex-Post Office chairman of ‘lies’ in Horizon row | Politics | News | EUROtoday

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Kemi Badenoch has accused a former Post Office chairman of mendacity in a row over the Horizon scandal.

Henry Staunton, who was sacked by the Business Secretary final month, alleged he was instructed by a senior civil servant to decelerate spending on compensation to subpostmasters to permit the Tories to “limp into” the following election.

In a newspaper interview he claimed Ms Badenoch instructed him that “someone’s got to take the rap” for the miscarriage of justice and that he found his sacking following a cellphone name from Sky News.

But Mrs Badenoch mentioned the feedback have been a “disgraceful misrepresentation” of the explanations he was ousted.

In a prolonged on social media platform X, she mentioned: “Henry Staunton had a lack of grip getting justice for postmasters. The serious concerns over his conduct were the reasons I asked him to step down.

“That he selected to run to the media with made-up anecdotes and a sequence of falsehoods, confirms I made the right choice.”

The Cabinet minister said her call with Mr Staunton “was with officers” who took a “full file”.

She added: “He has given an interview stuffed with lies about our dialog throughout his dismissal.

“The details will emerge soon enough as I won’t let the matter rest here, but will be discussing with (government) lawyers.”

Ms Badenoch is predicted to make a Commons assertion concerning the matter on Monday.

Mr Staunton, who took up the position in December 2022, used an interview with the Sunday Times to recommend the alleged request to carry up funds was linked to issues about the price of compensation heading into the election.

He mentioned: “Early on, I was told by a fairly senior person to stall on spend on compensation and on the replacement of Horizon and to limp, in quotation marks – I did a file note on it – limp into the election.

“It was not an anti-postmaster factor, it was simply straight financials. I did not ask, as a result of I mentioned ‘I’m having no a part of it – I’m not right here to limp into the election, it isn’t the precise factor to do by postmasters’.

“The word ‘limp’ gives you a snapshot of where they were.”

More than 700 department managers have been prosecuted by the Post Office between 1999 and 2015 after defective Horizon accounting software program made it look as if cash was lacking from their outlets.

Hundreds of subpostmasters and subpostmistresses are nonetheless awaiting compensation regardless of the Government asserting that those that have had convictions quashed are eligible for £600,000 payouts.

The miscarriage of justice has been pushed into the general public eye by a significant ITV drama.

A Government spokesperson mentioned: “We utterly refute these allegations. The Government has sped up compensation to victims and consistently encouraged postmasters to come forward with their claims.

“To recommend any actions or conversations occurred on the contrary is wrong. In truth, upon appointment, Mr Staunton was set concrete targets, in writing, to deal with reaching settlements with claimants – clear proof of the Government’s intent.

“The Secretary of State asked Henry Staunton to step down as chairman of the Post Office because a change in leadership was needed.”