Rishi Sunak politics

Source: Simon Walker / No 10 Downing Street

PM Rishi Sunak has confirmed the government will introduce “new primary legislation” to ensure Horizon scandal victims are “swiftly exonerated and compensated”.

The new law will enable victims to sign a form to say they are innocent in order to have their convictions overturned and claim compensation.

Sunak also indicated there would be a new upfront payment of £75,000 for some of those affected.

He defined the Horizon scandal as “one of the greatest miscarriages of justice in our nation’s history”.

The scandal saw the Post Office pursue more than 700 sub-postmasters for alleged theft, fraud and false accounting based on data from its Horizon IT system.

Read more: What can we learn from the Post Office scandal?

Branch owner-operators UK-wide were wrongly accused of taking money from their businesses, despite raising serious concerns about an accounting software with ongoing issues since 2010.

Sunak vowed to “right the wrongs” of the past in a public statement addressed to the victims, whom he described as “people who worked hard to serve their communities and had their lives and reputation destroyed through absolutely no fault of their own”.

The PM’s address came a day after former Post Office CEO Paula Vennells handed back her CBE, which she received for her PO service in 2019.