Post Office Legislation - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords am 3:46 pm ar 14 Mawrth 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Lord Young of Norwood Green Lord Young of Norwood Green Llafur 3:46, 14 Mawrth 2024

Third time lucky, my Lords.

First, I concur with everything that my noble friend Lord McNicol said from the Front Bench. I am not going to repeat all those points; he covered the waterfront. I share some of the concerns expressed by the noble Baroness, Lady Brinton. I also need to declare an interest because I was a junior Minister at the time. I was not dealing with this issue; I was dealing with what seemed a bigger issue at the time—the privatisation of Royal Mail, which never actually took place then.

Before I go on with my contribution, I pay tribute to somebody who I know wanted to be here today, but ill health prevented him: my noble friend Lord Clarke of Hampstead, whose track record on involvement with the Post Office and Royal Mail is second to none. I saw him last week and he was hoping he would manage to make it, but, clearly, he could not—that is for the record.

I come to paragraph 33 in the Statement, which says that

“we will exonerate those who were so unjustly convicted of crimes that they did not commit”.

Of course, I welcome that, but the people I want to focus on are those who did commit crimes; what are the Government going to do about them?

We heard recently that Fujitsu, unbelievably, was still being involved in government contracts, although it has given back some of the money. There are other people who ought to be held responsible for what turned out to be crimes: deliberate attempts to conceal a system that they knew was faulty. That includes Fujitsu itself. So I would welcome the Minister making some statement about when this particular aspect is going to be dealt with.

I understand that there will be some aspects of this that might be considered sub judice or whatever, but I would welcome an initial comment on when and how the Government are going to deal with this situation. The idea that Fujitsu should continue to be seen as a reliable contractor, working with the Government, is in my view somewhat doubtful. I look forward to hearing the Minister’s response.