My question on the Post Office Governance and Horizon Compensation Schemes – UKGI governance

John Redwood (Wokingham) (Con):

Will the Secretary of State review the governance of UKGI? How did it manage to preside over the Post Office with its dreadful treatment of sub-postmasters? How did UKGI allow senior Post Office managers to rack up and accumulate losses of £1,390 million, effectively bankrupting the Post Office so that it can now trade only if it has the reassurance of massive cash infusions from the Treasury on a continuing basis? Surely this body has done very badly, and we need a better answer.

Kemi Badenoch (The Secretary of State for Business and Trade):

That is one of the reasons why we have been making personnel changes in this area. It goes back to the point I was making in the statement: Post Office needs an effective chair. Until the day I had the conversation dismissing him, I never had any correspondence from Mr Staunton about difficulties that he was having with UKGI. If he was having difficulties, he should have told me, rather than give an interview to The Sunday Times effectively stating that he had no control over the organisation that he had been appointed to run.


  1. agricola
    February 21, 2024

    The question I ask is, why do we have to suffer UKGI at all.

    The Post Office, managed the way it is, screwed up big time without the need of UKGI, who seem to orchestrate many failed government projects. Frankly the collection and distribution of mail could be better handled bu such as Amazon. The post offices themselves would be better run as limited liability companies in the hands of current sub postmasters, with fhe freedom to expand their businesses as they see fit. Running the cash economy in the high street in place of disappearing banks would be a useful public service. Running government services should be on commission relating to cost and turnover.
    If Ministries were properly run they would not need a buffer like UKGI to expensively dilute their responsibilities. Cast them before the Daleks.

  2. Rod Evans
    February 21, 2024

    The Post office is yet another example of open ended state funding being taken for granted by those at the top of the public organisations. Those ‘leaders’ in the Public Sector are being paid more than the PM and they know they can do what they like because they will never be held accountable for the outcomes. Those same leaders allow nonsense woke initiatives to take control of the departments they notionally control, because they know there is no merit for them standing firm against the ongoing left shills, common purpose advocates and worse. The ultimate insult to the public comes when the same useless pointless do nothings, paid handsomely for being there, are either Knighted or given a peerage thus allowing them endless state funded club facilities in the HoL.
    It is no surprise the HoL is larger in number than the HoC. That emphasises the way the ‘system’ works.

  3. Berkshire Alan
    February 21, 2024

    So the Minister did not think to have a conversation with the said man in charge for 12 months.
    How is it going then.
    What are your thoughts and plans going forwards.
    Why is it taking so long to compensate the postmasters.
    What is the score with Fujitsu.
    Ministers and management skills, not a clue !
    Communication skills Zero !

    1. Mickey Taking
      February 21, 2024

      What is the score? I think it has to be ‘Game, Set and Match’ never to be rematched in Government Contracts?

    2. Peter
      February 21, 2024


      Indeed. Sitting on the sidelines. UKGI there to take the blame when things go wrong.

      It is the relevant minister’s job to ensure everything is as it should be. You cannot delegate that responsibility.

    3. Hope
      February 21, 2024

      + many
      Her reply shows she is a useless minister without a clue what was really happening. The size of losses the post office made, pointed out by JR, why she should have taken an active interest on behalf of the taxpayer! She should have ensured she had a firm grip on what was happening with clear milestones and targets through regular meetings with him. Not to do so shows distance, disinterested and total lack of grip. Sack her.

  4. Bryan Harris
    February 21, 2024

    I never had any correspondence from Mr Staunton about difficulties that he was having with UKGI. If he was having difficulties, he should have told me, rather than give an interview to The Sunday Times effectively stating that he had no control over the organisation that he had been appointed to run.


    Civil service mentality has infiltrated even organisations like this, it seems, making effective management impossible. Ministers complain of this too.

    Sack them all and have them reapply for their posts. That is what private companies do to cut out the chaff.

  5. Nigl
    February 21, 2024

    What an absolute rubbish reply. Look at UKGI’s response to the enquiry admitting (only) a lack of curiosity and as for changes, the CEO is responsible for the culture with the other Executive level managers, they should all, be cleared out but of course won’t be by a Secretary of State, all show, little substance and the rest of the sloping shoulder brigade, pass the buck, can’t be blamed.

    The whole Post Office is a ‘corrupt’ can of worms involving mutual back scratching, influence in terms of relationships with the IT provider and reward to party donors with many of those involved hiding behind the enquiry, no doubt hoping they will have moved on/away by the time it reports and they have held it up even longer .when asked to comment before the final version.

    Sir JR might like to tell us why Paula Vennels, on stepping down as the scandal broke was given the role of Non Exec Director in the Cabinet Office and awarded a CBE when government were well aware of what was unfolding.

    A revolving door rewarding ‘useless’ establishment elites. A metaphor for Government of any persuasion.

  6. formula57
    February 21, 2024

    So does Minister Badenoch believe that the issues arising from UKGI’s performance are all fixed by appointing a new chairperson to the Post Office?

    Was Mr. Staunton not entitled to believe that when UKGI spoke, it was acting in conformity with the Minister’s wishes? Certainly I would agree, if he did not like what UKGI was up to, he ought to have conferred with the Minister.

  7. Bloke
    February 21, 2024

    When Henry Staunton’s evidence is fully assessed with other relevant facts several careless and incompetent idiots will be revealed. Signs point above all to the Cabinet. Rash claims of revenge and bullying need substantiation to be proven. Until then they serve only an attempt to detract attention from the idiot(s) at fault until the truth lands where it belongs: on the heads of the disgraced. The election probably will flush out this bunch of bad operators from the Cabinet anyway before this grindingly-slow Post Office process can.

  8. Abigail
    February 21, 2024

    Deckchairs on the Titanic come to mind. The point, surely, is when are the wronged postmasters and postmistresses going to be reimbursed and compensated? I also want to see Fujitsu foot a substantial part of the bill. The rest, in my view, should be funded by bankrupting the post office managers and bosses of the relevant times, their homes and assets seized, and those of the lawyers advising them, any shortfall to be made up from the personal fortunes of Ministers and Civil Servants who ignored the problems. It was shocking to see that not only were the post office bosses promoted by the government to other responsible jobs but even given bonuses, while the people who serve us were on their knees, some even in their coffins.

  9. Keith from Leeds
    February 21, 2024

    At least Kemi Badenoch had the guts to sack the Post Office Chair. If only there were a lot more of that in the public sector and more Ministers who have the guts to do it.
    But where is Jeremy Hunt in all this? Why has he not gotten stuck into the appalling waste of money in the Post Office, UKGI, Civil Servants, Quangos, and defence procurement? He should have reviewed every £1.00 of Government spending ruthlessly. But there is no sign of that, so what does he do all day?
    It seems virtually none of our Government Ministers and MPs generally, have any real-world business experience, so they don’t even know the questions to ask, with the exception of Sir John. It is a scandal of incompetence that is breathtaking in its extent!

  10. Original Richard
    February 21, 2024

    “How did it [UKGI] manage to preside over the Post Office with its dreadful treatment of sub-postmasters?”

    The lesson to be learned from this Post Office scandal is the enormous number of people from the bigwigs to the lower orders in the corporates, civil service, judiciary, quangos, accountancy firms and government ministers et al who went along for whatever reason with altering data, closing down investigations and sending subpostmasters to jail even though the Horizon system was known to be faulty and the number of prosecutions far exceeded normalcy.

    There is an even bigger scandal now taking place which will easily surpass this Post Office scandal and that is the false Marxist inspired scheme that we have CAGW caused by burning hydrocarbon fuels. Both the historical data on temperature and CO2 and the work of by Happer & Wijngaarden that doubling atmospheric CO2 has a negligible GHG warming effect conclusively proves that CO2 does not control the temperature. In fact as the Antarctic Vostok ice core data shows, when both temperature and CO2 are at historically low levels, as they are today, CO2 follows temperature and not vice versa.

    The 2022 Nobel Physics prize winner, Dr. John Clauser, has described CAGW as “a dangerous corruption of science that threatens the world’s economy and the well-being of billions of people”.

  11. glen cullen
    February 21, 2024

    Forget the Post Office its another wasted day in the House of Commons debating the ceasefire in Gaza, a ceasefire that neither Hamas or the Israelis have asked for or want ….oh how pleased we feel about ourselves

  12. Linda Brown
    February 21, 2024

    I’ll tell you how they bankrupted the firm – they got rid of all of us in the 1980s and recruited in all these accountants who were only interested in cutting staff and getting big bonuses. Look at Conservative policies of the day and you will have the answer. I would still vote tory against labour as I am a private house owner and am expecting the labourites to move us out into rooms so that they can have our houses for the immigrants.

    1. Berkshire Alan
      March 1, 2024


      The accountants are still in charge, the cost of a stamp going up again in April by another 10 pence.

      The end of the birthday and Christmas card printing industry is at hand !

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