Paula Vennells

Ex-Post Office chief Paula Vennells has announced she will hand back her CBE “with immediate effect”.

Vennells received the British Empire appointment for her role at the Post Office in 2019.

She was managing director in 2010 before being promoted to the position of CEO, which Vennells held from 2012 to 2019, at the height of the Horizon scandal.

The scandal saw the Post Office pursue hundreds of sub-postmasters UK-wide for alleged theft, fraud and false accounting based on data from its Horizon IT system.

About 3,500 branch owner-operators were wrongly accused of taking money from their businesses, despite raising serious concerns about an accounting software with ongoing issues since 2010.

The decision by Vennells to hand back the gong comes after days of pressure, including a petition reaching over a million signatures on Monday.

In the same statement, Vennels said she was “truly sorry” for the harm caused to the hundreds of sub-postmasters and their families.

A public inquiry into the scandal is still ongoing.