Rishi Sunak Declines to Echo Kemi Badenoch’s Assertion Regarding Former Post Office Chief’s Honesty

credit: theguardian

London (Parliament Politic Magazine) – Keir Starmer challenged Rishi Sunak at PMQs to endorse the extraordinary claim Tory frontbencher Kemi Badenoch made about former Post Office boss Henry Staunton

Rishi Sunak has twice declined to reiterate Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch’s explosive declaration that a former Post Office chief is fibbing about what the Government implied him to do. The Prime Minister was questioned to endorse the extraordinary claim Ms. Badenoch pushed about Henry Staunton on Monday. Mr. Staunton was discharged by the under-fire Tory frontbencher in the Commons after he argued he’d been ordered to delay compensation for postmasters including Alan Bates.

At PMQs, Keir Starmer questioned if Mr. Sunak was prepared to recount the allegation that Mr. Staunton was lying. Mr. Starmer also stated that an unearthed memo seems to “contradict” Ms Badenoch’s statement and called on the PM to examine it.

The PM faltered: “Mr. Speaker, as the Business Secretary spoke on Monday, she asked Henry Staunton to step down after grave concerns were raised. She set out the reasoning for this and the full background in the House earlier this week.” He went on to claim ministers were taking “unprecedented steps” to ensure victims of the Horizon scandal get compensation “as swiftly as possible and in full”.

Mr. Starmer then contested the PM over whether the Government did call the Post Office to “go slow” on compensation. Ms. Badenoch has firmly rejected this and said no such instruction was ever given, claiming the allegation was “a blatant attempt to seek revenge” for losing his job.

But a message released by Mr. Staunton suggests he was instructed not to ‘rip off the band-aid’ and told now was not the time to “deal with long-term issues”. Mr Starmer stated: “I appreciate that the Business Secretary has put the Prime Minister in a difficult position. But will he commit to investigating this matter properly, including whether that categorical statement was correct? And why, rather than taking those accusations seriously did she on Tuesday accuse a whistleblower of lying?”

Mr. Sunak dodged the question, instead stating: “This is a matter of substance, one of the greatest miscarriages of justice in our nation’s history. Because people who were working hard, serving that can even have their lives and reputations destroyed.”

Mr. Starmer stated that one of the features of the huge miscarriage of justice is that “where concerns have been raised, they’ve been pushed to one side”.

Mr. Staunton is locked in a resentful war of words with the Business Secretary after he argued that he’d been told to stall on remuneration for postmasters including Alan Bates. Ms Badenoch accused him of not telling the truth, and No10 challenged him to deliver evidence to support his claim.

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Mr. Staunton has now revealed notes he made of a discussion he had with the Business Department’s top civil servant in January last year. The memorandum claims Sarah Munby cautioned him that “politicians do not necessarily like to confront reality” and that “now was not the time for dealing with long-term issues”.

Daniele Naddei

Daniele Naddei is a journalist at Parliament News covering European affairs, was born in Naples on April 8, 1991. He also serves as the Director of the CentroSud24 newspaper. During the period from 2010 to 2013, Naddei completed an internship at the esteemed local radio station Radio Club 91. Subsequently, he became the author of a weekly magazine published by the Italian Volleyball Federation of Campania (FIPAV Campania), which led to his registration in the professional order of Journalists of Campania in early 2014, listed under publicists. From 2013 to 2018, he worked as a freelance photojournalist and cameraman for external services for Rai and various local entities, including TeleCapri, CapriEvent, and TLA. Additionally, between 2014 and 2017, Naddei collaborated full-time with various newspapers in Campania, both in print and online. During this period, he also resumed his role as Editor-in-Chief at Radio Club 91.
Naddei is actively involved as a press officer for several companies and is responsible for editing cultural and social events in the city through his association with the Medea Fattoria Sociale. This experience continued until 2021. Throughout these years, he hosted or collaborated on football sports programs for various local broadcasters, including TLA, TvLuna, TeleCapri, Radio Stonata, Radio Amore, and Radio Antenna Uno.
From 2016 to 2018, Naddei was employed as an editor at newspapers of national interest within the Il24.it circuit, including Internazionale24, Salute24, and OggiScuola. Since 2019, Naddei has been one of the creators of the Rabona television program "Calcio è Passione," which has been broadcast on TeleCapri Sport since 2023.