After the Horizon scandal disgraced Post Office boss Paula Vennells must hand back her CBE now!

8 January 2024, 07:38

Disgraced Post Office boss Paula Vennells must hand back her CBE now, writes Johnny Jenkins
Disgraced Post Office boss Paula Vennells must hand back her CBE now, writes Johnny Jenkins. Picture: Alamy/LBC
Johnny Jenkins

By Johnny Jenkins

The Post Office Horizon scandal has finally received the national attention it deserves, but why has it taken so long?

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ITV’s four-part drama Mr Bates vs The Post Office has rightfully sparked national debate and fury about this stain on our justice system.

We’ve not just learnt about the scandal, but we’ve also learnt some new names.

Alan Bates, the heroic sub-postmaster who led an army of victims against the most powerful legal institutions in Britain.

Jo Hamilton, the broken woman repeatedly trying to balance the books, only to see her debts rise and rise.

And Paula Vennells CBE - the former Chief Executive of Royal Mail, who left the role in 2019 to oversee an NHS trust.

During her tenure, Vennells oversaw the conviction of hundreds of sub-postmasters for theft, false accounting and fraud.

Vennells accepted her CBE in 2019 - the same year that the Post Office paid out £58 million in compensation to over 500 victims.

Alan Bates, however, didn’t accept an honour from the state so quickly. He turned down an OBE, refusing to be on the same list as Vennells, the figurehead of the institution which destroyed his life.

We’re all rightly furious at the problems with Horizon, the legal cases and the reaction from the Post Office - but what can we do?

A million people have decided to join forces, signing a petition calling for Vennells to be stripped of her CBE. As the nation’s anger has been increasing, the petition has been growing.

David Smith, who set up this petition argues that the former Post Office boss has ‘refused to apologise for the cover-up, misery and trauma’ inflicted on hundreds of pillars of our community.

Smith argues that Vennells has ‘brought not only herself but the Post Office, the honours system and government into disrepute.’ You can’t argue with that.

Paula Vennells CBE has spent the past week feeling the heat of our collective rage. The rage which hundreds of victims have felt for over 20 years.

It’s finally time for justice. Vennells must hand back her CBE now and hand it over to Alan Bates - the most deserving recipient anybody could imagine.