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'I'm up for a fight': 'Angry' former postmistress plans to take Ed Davey's seat at the next general election
14 January 2024, 09:38 | Updated: 15 January 2024, 08:59
“I’m not a politician, I’m just a grandmother who’s become really sad and angry at the way people are being treated,” Yvonne Tracey tells LBC.
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Like millions of Brits across the country, Ms Tracey, 68, was appalled to see the way hundreds of postmasters were treated during the Horizon IT scandal through the new ITV drama ‘Mr Bates vs the Post Office’.
As a former deputy postmistress who worked in a branch in New Malden, south west London, for over 20 years, Ms Tracey had heard whispers of how postmasters were being affected by Fujitsu's Horizon programme, but never had any problems herself.
Despite already having experience as an independent councillor in New Malden, Ms Tracey never saw herself going into politics full-time, let alone standing as an MP against the leader of the Liberal Democrats in Kingston and Surbiton.
But with the “anger” that she was left with after watching ‘Mr Bates vs the Post Office’, which detailed how hundreds of postmasters were wrongfully accused of stealing money from the Post Office, she feels she has no choice.
“Ed Davey is the MP in my constituency, I thought ‘I could stand against Ed, I would stand up for the postmasters’, because let’s face it, they still haven’t got justice, nobody has been brought to account, hardly anyone has been paid out, and they still don’t know what went on," Ms Tracey told LBC.
“I had no ambitions in politics…but they need somebody who is going to speak for them.”
Sir Ed has been under fire in recent weeks over his role in the Post Office scandal, which took place between 1999 and 2015, with a public inquiry still ongoing.
During that time, Sir Ed served as post office minister during the Coalition government between 2010 and 2012, and was contacted by Alan Bates, a key campaigner who sought to hold the Post Office to account.
Mr Bates asked Sir Ed for a meeting to discuss the issues hundreds of postmasters had been having, a meeting which Sir Ed said at the time “would serve little purpose”.
For Ms Tracey, that is “unforgivable”, as is the fact that Sir Ed recently refused to apologise on 10 different occasions for his failure to hold the Post Office to account.
“I’d like Mr Davey to come out and say what questions did he ask at the time, who did he ask them to, and what were the answers he was given,” she said.
As an independent councillor, the scale of the challenge is not lost on Ms Tracey.
She is more than aware that it will be an uphill battle to take on the Liberal Democrat party machine, who will be fighting to keep their leader in his seat.
But along with her grandson, James Giles - another independent councillor and leader of the opposition in the Kingston council - Ms Tracey is up for the fight.
“I know people are angry…they’re angry at the Post Office, Fujitsu, and they’re angry at Ed Davey."