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Chris Mason: A TV drama may help deliver change for sub-postmasters Chris Mason: A TV drama may help deliver change for sub-postmasters
(about 7 hours later)
The only sub-postmasters to have had their convictions overturned so far seen celebrating outside the Royal Courts of JusticeThe only sub-postmasters to have had their convictions overturned so far seen celebrating outside the Royal Courts of Justice
Years of headlines about it.Years of headlines about it.
More than two decades of injustice.More than two decades of injustice.
But it is a Christmas holiday TV drama that has catapulted the plight of hundreds of sub postmasters to the top of the political agenda. But it is a Christmas holiday TV drama that has catapulted the plight of hundreds of sub-postmasters to the top of the political agenda.
More than that, it has accelerated the likely timeline for significant change.More than that, it has accelerated the likely timeline for significant change.
The government is now saying publicly it hopes that as soon as later this week it can bring forward a plan.The government is now saying publicly it hopes that as soon as later this week it can bring forward a plan.
An idea that is being explored is passing a new law that would exonerate the hundreds of sub postmasters desperate to clear their name. An idea that is being explored is passing a new law that would exonerate the hundreds of sub-postmasters desperate to clear their names.
Senior folk I speak to in government fret about two elements of this idea: firstly, intervening in the judicial process isn't what MPs are conventionally meant to do.Senior folk I speak to in government fret about two elements of this idea: firstly, intervening in the judicial process isn't what MPs are conventionally meant to do.
Secondly, they worry about it creating a hostage to fortune; an unintended consequence for a future, currently unforeseen separate issue.Secondly, they worry about it creating a hostage to fortune; an unintended consequence for a future, currently unforeseen separate issue.
But there is a growing feeling that the public mood, prompted by the drama, leaves those in government with no alternative but to act, be seen to act, and to do so quickly.But there is a growing feeling that the public mood, prompted by the drama, leaves those in government with no alternative but to act, be seen to act, and to do so quickly.
Why were hundreds of Post Office workers prosecuted?Why were hundreds of Post Office workers prosecuted?
Ministers vow to speed up justice for Post Office victimsMinisters vow to speed up justice for Post Office victims
Sunak must get cracking on scandal, says ex-postmasterSunak must get cracking on scandal, says ex-postmaster
And so government lawyers have been exploring the possibility of carefully written, very specific legislation to specifically address the Post Office scandal, and nothing else.And so government lawyers have been exploring the possibility of carefully written, very specific legislation to specifically address the Post Office scandal, and nothing else.
Significantly, two former justice secretaries, the Conservative Sir Robert Buckland, in a letter to The Times, and Labour's Lord Falconer, talking to the BBC, have said a new law is needed and would command widespread support.Significantly, two former justice secretaries, the Conservative Sir Robert Buckland, in a letter to The Times, and Labour's Lord Falconer, talking to the BBC, have said a new law is needed and would command widespread support.
The current Justice Secretary, Alex Chalk, is examining the practicalities and legal niceties of what is possible.The current Justice Secretary, Alex Chalk, is examining the practicalities and legal niceties of what is possible.
Meanwhile, the breadth and longevity of the decades-long failures over all this mean plenty of people face plenty of questions.Meanwhile, the breadth and longevity of the decades-long failures over all this mean plenty of people face plenty of questions.
Will Mellor as Lee and Amy Nuttall as Lisa in Mr Bates vs the Post Office TV ShowWill Mellor as Lee and Amy Nuttall as Lisa in Mr Bates vs the Post Office TV Show
For Fujitsu, the Japanese company that build the computer program, Horizon, at the heart of all this. For Fujitsu, the Japanese company that built the computer program, Horizon, at the heart of the scandal.
For the Post Office's chief executives during all this: John Roberts, Adam Crozier, Moya Greene and Paula Vennells, who was the Post Office's Chief Executive from 2012 to 2019. For the Post Office's chief executives during the period: John Roberts, Adam Crozier, Moya Greene and Paula Vennells, who was the Post Office's Chief Executive from 2012 to 2019.
Over a million people are demanding, in a petition, that she is stripped of her CBE. Over a million people are demanding, in a petition, that Ms Vennells is stripped of her CBE.
Plenty of MPs, from the prime minister down, are sympathetic.Plenty of MPs, from the prime minister down, are sympathetic.
Ms Vennells has said she is 'truly sorry' for the suffering caused by the Post Office - which, we should remember - the government owns outright.Ms Vennells has said she is 'truly sorry' for the suffering caused by the Post Office - which, we should remember - the government owns outright.
And for the former ministers, some Labour, some Liberal Democrat and some Conservative, responsible for the Post Office since 1999, when this can all be traced back to.And for the former ministers, some Labour, some Liberal Democrat and some Conservative, responsible for the Post Office since 1999, when this can all be traced back to.
Sir Ed Davey is one of them, a postal affairs minister during the coalition government, now the Liberal Democrat leader, facing intense scrutiny in a general election year.Sir Ed Davey is one of them, a postal affairs minister during the coalition government, now the Liberal Democrat leader, facing intense scrutiny in a general election year.
Those questions will continue, but there now appears to be a momentum around change, and trying to deliver it quickly.Those questions will continue, but there now appears to be a momentum around change, and trying to deliver it quickly.
After all these years, hundreds of sub-postmasters are watching, waiting and hoping that - finally - justice might be getting closer.After all these years, hundreds of sub-postmasters are watching, waiting and hoping that - finally - justice might be getting closer.
Related TopicsRelated Topics
ITVITV
Alex ChalkAlex Chalk
Post Office InquiryPost Office Inquiry
Ed DaveyEd Davey