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Arise Sir Alan Bates? No 10 says it is 'common sense' for Horizon campaigner to be knighted - as Labour also back bid
10 January 2024, 16:17 | Updated: 10 January 2024, 16:27
Calls have been made from both the Conservatives and Labour for Alan Bates to be given a knighthood, with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s spokeswoman saying that doing so would be "common sense".
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Downing Street is backing the demands for Mr Bates to be given a knighthood for his fight for justice for sub-postmasters impacted by the Post Office Horizon Scandal.
Mr Bates had previously been offered an OBE but refused as the former Post Office CEO Paula Vennells still held the CBE at the time.
Ms Vennells has since announced that she will hand back her CBE with immediate effect.
MPs and campaigners have called for Mr Bates to be offered the honour again since Ms Vennells relinquished hers.
Minister Esther McVey has said she wants Mr Bates to be knighted "as soon as possible."
The Prime minister’s press secretary added that it is "hard to think of someone more deserving of being rewarded through the honours system than him" and that he should be knighted out of "common sense".
Sir Keir Starmer has also agreed with the sentiment, with the Labour leader’s spokesman saying: "I think Alan Bates clearly has emerged as a hero throughout this for the way in which he has led the campaign, the fortitude and resolve he was shown given everything that has been thrown at him throughout this process.
"Obviously honours have their own independent process, but I’m sure that is something the public would regard as entirely appropriate and we would support."
Fr now, it seems that Mr Bates is focusing on continuing his decades-long battle for justice for sub-postmasters, instead of securing an honour.
He said on BBC Radio 4’s The World at One: "It's not about me, it's about the whole group and it's about getting this money out to people as soon as possible so they can try and get on with their lives and try and put this behind them."