Ex-Post Office boss Paula Vennells formally stripped of CBE by King Charles

23 February 2024, 14:50 | Updated: 23 February 2024, 15:22

Paula Vennells has been formally stripped of her honour
Paula Vennells has been formally stripped of her honour. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

Ex-Post Office boss Paula Vennells has been formally stripped of her CBE by the King.

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Ms Vennells was awarded the honour in 2019 but the government was put under pressure to remove it over the sub-postmaster scandal.

It comes after she announced she would give it up voluntarily after a petition garnered more than a million signatures.

Ms Vennells oversaw the Post Office as it denied there were any problems with the Horizon system, which made it appear that money was missing and let to a spate of wrongful convictions of sub-postmasters.

More than 900 were wrongly prosecuted between 1999 and 2015.

Read more: Calls for Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby to resign over 'links to ex-Post Office boss Paula Vennells'

Some were even jailed for theft and false accounting - though a new law is set to clear their names after the public outcry following ITV's dramatisation of the scandal, Mr Bates vs The Post Office.

However, it comes too late for those who died or were thought to have taken their own lives in the wake of the affair.

Ms Vennells was heavily criticised over the Horizon scandal
Ms Vennells was heavily criticised over the Horizon scandal. Picture: Alamy

Ms Vennells said in January: "I continue to support and focus on co-operating with the inquiry and expect to be giving evidence in the coming months.

"I have so far maintained my silence as I considered it inappropriate to comment publicly while the inquiry remains ongoing and before I have provided my oral evidence.

Read more: Hundreds of Post Office scandal victims set to be cleared as details of new legislation announced

"I am, however, aware of the calls from sub-postmasters and others to return my CBE.

"I have listened and I confirm that I return my CBE with immediate effect.

"I am truly sorry for the devastation caused to the sub-postmasters and their families, whose lives were torn apart by being wrongly accused and wrongly prosecuted as a result of the Horizon system.

"I now intend to continue to focus on assisting the inquiry and will not make any further public comment until it has concluded."