Debates between Lord Fairfax of Cameron and Lord Callanan during the 2019-2024 Parliament

Postmasters with Overturned Convictions: Settlement Funds

Debate between Lord Fairfax of Cameron and Lord Callanan
Wednesday 15th December 2021

(2 years, 7 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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I thank my noble friend for his comments, but ministerial discomfort is nothing, and massively insignificant, compared to the injustices and discomfort that has occurred to all these poor sub-postmasters. I cannot give him a date, for reasons that I set out earlier. We are going down the alternative dispute resolution procedure route because we think that it will bring about a faster resolution for the claimants. We have put in place interim payments so that some compensation is paid quickly and immediately, and I set out in my Statement how that has been paid. I can go no further than to say that we want it done as quickly as possible, which is why we have gone with the ADR procedure. Although I would like to, I cannot give him a final date.

Lord Fairfax of Cameron Portrait Lord Fairfax of Cameron (Con)
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I endorse and adopt almost everything that was said by the noble Lord, Lord McNicol, and the noble Baroness, Lady Randerson. I have one theoretical question. If the Wyn Williams inquiry is to find culpability on the part of individuals within the management and senior management of the Post Office, will the Government, as principal shareholders in the Post Office, consider bringing recourse actions against those individuals?

Lord Callanan Portrait Lord Callanan (Con)
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This is a complex issue, stretching back over many years and perhaps even decades, with decisions taken at various levels of the Post Office—and, of course, before that, when it was Royal Mail. We are totally committed to seeing these long-standing issues resolved, learning what went wrong through the inquiry and making sure that it cannot happen again. Whether the directors active at the time should be the subject of disqualification proceedings, again that is a legal procedure set out and managed by the Insolvency Service in accordance with the appropriate legislation, and I am certain that it will do that if necessary.