Ex-Post Office Chair Says He Is Victim Of Government 'Smear Campaign'

Henry Staunton stands by claim he was asked to delay compensation payments to Horizon IT scandal victims.
Lucy North - PA Images via Getty Images

Henry Staunton, the ex-chairman of the Post Office, has said he is the victim of “a smear campaign” by business secretary Kemi Badenoch.

Staunton has been engaged in bitter a war of words with Badenoch over his claim he was told by a senior civil servant to delay compensation payments to victims of the Horizon IT scandal.

Badenoch, who sacked Staunton from his post, has rejected the accusation as “lies”.

Staunton was made Post Office chairman in December 2022, but was sacked by Badenoch in January 2024 following the pubic outcry over the Horizon scandal.

The minister has said one reason he was fired was that he failed to co-operate with an internal Post Office investigation into his behaviour.

Speaking to MPs on the Commons business committee this afternoon, Staunton said he stands by his allegation, which he made in a Sunday Times interview two weeks ago.

He said he “was left in no doubt” that Sarah Munby, then the top civil servant at the business department, had wanted him to slow down payments because “money is tight at the Treasury”.

Munby has denied this, saying it was “not true” that she “made any instruction, either explicitly or implicitly” to delay compensation.

Staunton told the committee: “What the public wants to know is why was everything so slow? And why does everything remain so slow?

“I’ve spoken up on matters of genuine public concern, have been fired, and am now subject to a smear campaign.”

Staunton also said the bullying complaint about him was actually one small section of an 80-page investigation into the behaviour of Post Office chief executive, Nick Read.

The Horizon IT scandal saw hundreds of Post Office workers wrongly accused of fraud. More than 4,000 people are in line to receive compensation.

The Post Office prosecuted more than 700 workers based on data from its faulty Fujitsu computer system between 2000 and 2015.

Hundreds received criminal records, and had to do community service, wear electronic tags or serve jail time.


What's Hot