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 Baroness Buscombe Baroness Buscombe Chair, Joint Committee on the Draft Mental Health Bill, Chair, Joint Committee on the Draft Mental Health Bill 3:46, 14 Mawrth 2024

My Lords, I join my noble friend Lord Arbuthnot in paying tribute to my noble friend the Minister and other Ministers in another place, along with all those in government who have got us to where we are so far. It has been a hard and difficult road, and it has been too long. The Minister is quite right that whatever happens, we must see that justice is done, and we must do all that we can in our power to ensure that this kind of abuse never happens again.

However, I am curious. I am probably being a little premature, but I do not understand why there has been no question, so far, about the role of the board directors who came and went through this appalling scandal: Tim Parker, Adam Crozier, Ken McCall, Carla Stent, Zarin Patel, Allan Leighton, Alice Perkins, and Susannah Storey—who I gather is now the Permanent Secretary at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. What role did these people play? Is this being looked at thoroughly in the inquiry?

We do have something in our power: corporate manslaughter. That might sound extreme, but four people committed suicide because of what was done to them over a period of years, while this stellar list of, as Private Eye would call them, “City slickers” came and went, well paid as directors of the Post Office. Do they get off scot free? Is the inquiry going to take so long that it gets thrown into the long grass? Does my noble friend agree that we should at least consider how these people should perhaps be charged with corporate manslaughter, so that they can prove their innocence at their own expense?