Ian Hislop Clashes With Former Tory Chairman Over Government Response To Post Office Scandal

"You can't just talk nonsense and not be interrupted."
Ian Hislop and Jake Berry clashed on ITV's 'Peston'
Ian Hislop and Jake Berry clashed on ITV's 'Peston'

Ian Hislop clashed angrily with former Tory chairman Jake Berry over the government’s response to the Post Office IT scandal.

The ‘Have I Got News For You’ panelist demanded to know why it had taken so long for ministers to take action after hundreds of sub-postmasters were wrongly convicted of fraud and false accounting.

Rishi Sunak announced yesterday that an emergency law would be introduced to exonerate all those caught up in the scandal, which was caused by the Post Office’s faulty Horizon computer system.

The long-running campaign to clear their names was given fresh impetus over Christmas thanks to the ITV drama ‘Mr Bates vs the Post Office’.

On ITV’s ‘Peston’ programme last night, Hislop said those in charge at the Post Office at the time of the scandal should be made to pay back the bonuses they were awarded.

After Berry said the government could pass a law to limit their pensions, Hislop said: “Well why couldn’t you do it so long ago?

“The fact that it takes an ITV drama and suddenly, having been told their entire campaigning life ‘this is very difficult, you’ll have to go in front of a judge, this is very, very expensive - oh this morning it isn’t, tomorrow we’ll pass legislation and you’re all exonerated’.

“I mean, it is absolutely fatuous for this government to claim ‘hey, we’re really acting now’. Did nothing - did nothing the whole time.”

But Berry hit back: “Demonstrably, that is complete and utter nonsense.”

Hislop then asked why the government gave former Post Office chief executive Paula Vennells a CBE in 2019. She announced earlier this week she was handing it back.

He added: “You talk over everyone else and you’ve been doing it the entire programme.”

After presenter Robert Peston told Hislop to “let him speak”, Berry said: “That programme that you claim to love so much was an amazing piece of drama by ITV.”

That comment infuriated Hislop even more and he said: “Why am I ‘claiming to’ love that programme? I do like that programme. You can’t just talk nonsense and not be interrupted.”

As the pair continued to row, Peston shouted: “The programme’s over. I don’t think we’re going to have a chance to tell you what’s coming next week, but anyway, bye everybody.”


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