Rishi Sunak Backs Kemi Badenoch Amidst Post Office Compensation Row

credit: theguardian

London (Parliament Politic Magazine) – Prime Minister Rishi Sunak supports Kemi Badenoch amidst claims of delaying compensation to Post Office sub-postmasters, emphasizing the clarity of her statement.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has supported Kemi Badenoch’s handling of a row with an ex-Post Office boss.

Ex-Post Office chair Henry Staunton asserted he was told to delay compensation to sub-postmasters impacted by the Horizon IT scandal. Ms. Badenoch has denied the claims, calling them “completely false,” but he continues to stand by them.

Regarding BBC Radio 4’s Farming Today, Rishi Sunak said Ms. Badenoch had “made a fulsome statement.”

The PM was questioned whether he could categorically deny Mr. Staunton’s claim that a senior civil servant had notified him to “stall” on compensation payments to allow the government to “limp into the election,” apparently to help state finances.

He did not respond to the question directly but insisted that the business secretary give a “very clear explanation.”

“Kemi made a fulsome statement about this in Parliament,” he responded. “She was right to do so and gave, I think, an obvious explanation of everything that’s happened.”

Hundreds of sub-postmasters were charged because of glitches in the Horizon IT system between 1999 and 2015 in what has been dubbed the biggest miscarriage of justice in UK history.

The government has pledged to quash convictions and pay compensation, but problems have been raised over the speed and complexity of victims’ securing financial redress, with just 33 claims fully settled.

The row between Ms. Badenoch and Mr. Staunton began when Mr. Staunton told the Sunday Times that Ms. Badenoch had stated “someone’s got to take the rap” during his sacking last month and that a senior civil servant had instructed the rate of payments to be delayed.

But, speaking in Parliament on Monday, Ms. Badenoch furiously rejected the claims, which she labeled “a blatant attempt to seek revenge following dismissal,” adding Mr. Staunton should show evidence.

In reaction, Mr. Staunton stated that he stood by the statement and had “recorded at the time in a file note which he emailed to himself and associates and which is therefore traceable on the Post Office server.” The statement noted: “Mr. Staunton is not in the habit of resorting to fabrication or invention and decided to go public out of a desire to ensure that the public was fully aware of the facts surrounding the multiple failures that have led to postmasters in this country being badly let down.”

The prime minister spoke to Radio 4’s Farming Today in an exclusive interview, which will be publicized on Wednesday morning.

Moreover, a week ago, it came to light that Kemi Badenoch is a member of a Conservative WhatsApp group named “Evil Plotters” despite speaking party rebels to “stop messing around” and get behind Rishi Sunak. She consistently comes out as the favorite cabinet minister in polls of Tory members and has condemned party colleagues for “stirring” up tips that she could replace the prime minister.

Further, Tory sources expressed that while Badenoch was not vigorously plotting to remove Sunak before the next election, her team was willing to “leap into action” should the prime minister be forced out or if he stood down as party chief following an election defeat.

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Later, she dismissed speculation over the story to topple Sunak as “Westminster tittle-tattle” and expressed that colleagues who put her name forward as an alternative were “not my friends.”

Beth Malcolm

Beth Malcolm is Scottish based Journalist at Heriot-Watt University studying French and British Sign Language. She is originally from the north west of England but is living in Edinburgh to complete her studies.