Sir Ed Davey refuses to say sorry over Post Office scandal

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey is one of a number of politicians facing uncomfortable questions around the Post Office scandal and, in an exclusive interview with ITV News, defended initially dismissing the concerns raised by Alan Bates

Sir Ed Davey has refused to apologise over his position in the Post Office scandal, despite being asked to more than ten times in an interview with ITV News.

The current leader of the Liberal Democrats, who was the postal minister under David Cameron's coalition government, between 2010 and 2012, has to this point failed to take accountability for his role in the scandal.

Speaking to ITV News' Paul Brand, Sir Ed was pushed to apologise for his inaction when the Horizon issues were brought to his attention.

"I've said time and time again that I deeply regret that I was lied to on an industrial scale," he said.

When pushed for a more explicit apology, Sir Ed said his "heart goes out to the people that were hit" by the convictions and that he "deeply regrets not getting to the bottom of the lies that were told."

Sir Ed, despite being asked more than 10 times by UK Editor Paul Brand, refused to apologise for his role in the scandal

Another key figure in the Post Office scandal is former chief executive Paula Vennells who has repeatedly apologised for her role.

Earlier this week she announced in a statement following huge public pressure that she would hand back her CBE.

Asked whether he believed she was right to return the honour, Sir Ed said he was "really surprised she got it in the first place" because "the stories were already emerging."

But when probed over his knighthood and whether he should be held to the same standards, he said he is "very proud" of his title.

Questioned over his specific regrets during his time as minister, Sir Ed claims he regrets "the lies he was told by the Post Office" and said it was "impossible to uncover them."

Former Post Office minister Sir Ed Davey claims that he was told the Horizon IT system was working, in what he described as a "conspiracy of lies"

Honing in on the number of sub-postmasters facing convictions, he claims that he was told there weren't that many of them.

When Sir Ed met with Alan Bates, the campaigning former sub-postmaster had spoken with more than 100 people who believed they had been wrongly convicted of swindling money.

But Sir Ed claims he "listened to him very closely" and put his questions to the relevant officials and executives.

"They (Post Office executives and National Federation of sub-postmasters) all told me the same thing," he added, "that the Horizon system was working, that there weren't many sub-postmasters involved.

"It was clearly a conspiracy of lies and what's become clear about this through ITV's programme and from others is that the Post Office is lying to the sub-postmasters, lying to the victims, lying to the courts and judges, lying to ministers of all parties over two decades and also lying to the British public."

Hundreds of sub-postmasters and mistresses were convicted of fraud and theft between 1999 and 2015, due to accounting errors created by the Horizon IT system which were blamed on staff.

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For years it's been labelled one of the biggest miscarriages of justice in British history, but a fresh light has been shone on the scandal following the release of ITV drama Mr Bates vs the Post Office.

This week the prime minister announced a new law is to be introduced to exonerate hundreds of Post Office branch managers caught up in the scandal.

He said his focus is now on the quashing of convictions and to ensure that sub-postmasters receive their compensation.

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