Post Office row: Rishi Sunak compelled to defend Kemi Badenoch | Politics | News | EUROtoday

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Rishi Sunak has refused to repeat Kemi Badenoch’s declare that the previous Post Office boss was mendacity when he mentioned he was instructed to delay compensation to Horizon scandal victims.

In a livid Commons conflict, Sir Keir Starmer demanded a Cabinet Office probe right into a livid row between the Business Secretary and Henry Staunton.

Mr Staunton, who was sacked final month, has claimed he was instructed to stall compensation payouts to postmasters to be able to assist the Tories forward of the overall election.

But Mrs Badenoch has angrily accused him of mendacity and spreading “made-up anecdotes” after she fired him as head of the Post Office final month.

Sir Keir seized on Mr Staunton’s claims as he challenged Mr Sunak to repeat the allegation that Mr Staunton was mendacity throughout Prime Minister’s Questions within the House of Commons.

Mr Sunak refused to repeat Mrs Badenoch’s declare about Mr Staunton, however highlighted how the Business Secretary requested him to stop the Post Office amid considerations about “bullying”.

The PM added: “She asked Henry Staunton to step down after serious concerns were raised. She set out the reasons for this and the full background in the House earlier this week.

“But importantly we have also taken unprecedented steps to ensure that victims of the Horizon scandal do receive compensation as swiftly as possible and in full.”

Sir Keir pressed Mr Sunak on recent claims by Mr Staunton that he was instructed by a high civil servant to “hobble” into the election on the difficulty of postmasters’ compensation.

The Labour chief mentioned a bombshell memo launched by the previous Post Office chairman “appears to directly contradict” the Government’s insistence it by no means ordered a delay to compensation funds.

Mr Sunak mentioned the continuing impartial inquiry into the Post Office scandal can entry “all the documentation it requires.”

The PM vowed the Government is targeted on guaranteeing victims get the “justice and compensation that they deserve”.

Sir Keir’s assaults sparked accusations Labour is intentionally attempting to carry down the favored Tory minister, with ally Tom Hunt MP warning she “isn’t someone to be messed with. I’d be careful if I were them”.

Lee Anderson accused Sir Keir and Labour of “obviously running scared of Kemi, just as they were with Suella”.

He added: “It’s obvious to me that Labour have a real problem with influential women in Parliament”.

“What I want to know is why are Labour intent on attacking female politicians in our party.”

Another Kemi Badenoch ally accused Labour MPs of “going after the black woman instead of the old white guy at the centre of this [Henry Staunton]who had bullying allegations hanging over him”.

Andrew Lewer, who supported Ms Badenoch’s summer season 2022 management run, added: “Of course Labour are attacking Kemi. She is a brilliant Secretary of State and stands for many of the traditional values that they despise”.

Red Wall MP Marco Longhi mentioned that Sir Keir Starmer’s assaults on Ms Badenoch exhibits he’s “bereft” of any management instincts on the Post Office scandal.

“As a former DPP he would surely want for due process to be followed in all cases, so to attack her so much suggests that he either doesn’t like female MPs who stand their ground, or that he is scared of her.”

Mr Staunton, who was Post Office chairman between December 2022 and final month, final night time revealed how he was instructed to not ‘rip off the band help’ by way of funds by a high civil servant.

Sarah Munby, who was then everlasting secretary on the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, is claimed to have warned Mr Staunton that “now was not the time for dealing with long-term issues”.

In her first assembly with Mr Staunton on January 5 final 12 months, she can also be mentioned to have instructed him that “politicians do not necessarily like to confront reality” and steered they give you a plan to “hobble” as much as the overall election.

The bombshell claims are included in a contemporaneous be aware of the assembly made by Mr Staunton.

The Horizon scandal noticed greater than 700 subpostmasters and subpostmistresses handed legal convictions between 1999 and 2015 as Fujitsu’s defective Horizon system made it seem as if cash was lacking at their branches.

A public inquiry into what has been described as probably the most widespread miscarriage of justice in British historical past is ongoing.

Anger on the remedy of subpostmasters grew after an ITV drama returned the difficulty to the highlight, which prompted the Government to final month promise a brand new regulation so these wrongly convicted are “swiftly exonerated and compensated”.