Post Office boss was 'told to STALL compensation to help Tories limp to election' before getting sacked

Post Office boss was 'told to STALL compensation to help Tories limp to election' before getting sacked

Jo Hamilton and Alan Bates believe there are still postmasters who have not come forward

GB News
Dimitris Kouimtsidis

By Dimitris Kouimtsidis

Published: 18/02/2024

- 08:46

Updated: 18/02/2024

- 09:01

Henry Staunton had only been chairman since December 2022 before getting fired last month

The former Post Office chairman was allegedly told to stall compensation payments to subpostmasters because of the upcoming general election.

Henry Staunton had only been in the job since December 2022 before getting sacked last month.

The former chairman of WH Smith received a call from Sky News informing him of his sacking on January 27, before anyone from Kemi Badenoch's office had spoken to him.

The Business Secretary - whom Staunton had never met before - phoned him shortly afterwards and informed him that he was being removed from his role.

Henry Staunton

Henry Staunton had been in the role since December 2022

GB News

He said she referred to the Horizon scandal, which saw more than 900 subpostmasters wrongly prosecuted between 1999 and 2015 based on flaws in the Horizon system.

Staunton claims that Badenoch did not apologise to him for the manner that he found out his fate and instead said: "Well, someone's got to take the rap for this."

The former chairman went on to allege that he was instructed by a senior civil servant to stall on compensation payments to the Horizon victims so that the government could "limp into the election" later this year with the lowest possible financial liability.

He told the Times: "Early on, I was told by a fairly senior person to stall on spending 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.


Kemi Badenoch

Kemi Badenoch sacked Henry Staunton on January 27


“It was not an anti-postmaster thing, it was just straight financials.

"I didn’t ask, because I said, ‘I’m having no part of it – I’m not here to limp into the election, it’s not the right thing to do by postmasters.’ The word ‘limp’ gives you a snapshot of where they were.”

Badenoch's department have denied the claims and referred to the conversation as "simply incorrect".

A Government spokesperson said: “We utterly refute these allegations.

“The Government has sped up compensation to victims, and consistently encouraged postmasters to come forward with their claims.

“To suggest any actions or conversations happened to the contrary is incorrect.

"In fact, upon appointment, Mr Staunton was set concrete objectives, in writing, to focus on reaching settlements with claimants – clear evidence 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.”

You may like