Kemi Badenoch accuses ex Post Office boss of spreading ‘a series of falsehoods’

Business secretary Kemi Badenoch has once more accused Henry Staunton of lying after he claimed in an interview that he had been told by a senior government official to slow down the payment of compensation for sub-postmasters to allow the Conservative Party to “limp into” the next election.

Speaking in the House of Commons, she accused him of spreading “a series of falsehoods” and providing “made up anecdotes to journalists”.

She added: “Mr. Staunton claimed I told him that someone’s got to take the rap for the Horizon scandal, and that was the reason for his dismissal. That was not the reason at all. I dismissed him because there were serious concerns about his behaviour as chair”.

‘Full of lies’: Kemi Badenoch hits back at former Post Office boss in Horizon row

The business and trade secretary went on to reveal that the former chairman of the Post Office was being investigated for bullying when he was removed from his post. 

She said: “I should also inform the House that while he was in post a formal investigation was launched into allegations made regarding Mr Staunton’s conduct. This included serious matters such as bullying”.

However, Badenoch was challenged on her account during her ministerial statement today. Shadow business and trade secretary Jonathan Reynolds said: “I firmly agree that the revelations in the Sunday Times at the weekend could not be more serious.

“In particular, the claim that the Post Office was instructed to deliberately go slow on compensation payments to Subpostmasters in order to push the financial liability into the next Parliament”.

He added: “If true, [it] would be a further outrageous insult to a scandal that has already rocked faith in the fairness of the British state”.

Labour MP Kevan Jones, who has been a prominent campaigner on the Post Office scandal, said: “The secretary of state says the end result and accusations are completely false. Therefore, we’ve got to accept that.

He added: “But what her tone today will send to the Subpostmasters, I’ll say this, it’s more cover up, more obfuscation. So get out there, explain what’s going on and give the information. Otherwise you will not have the trust. It’s just more of the same we’ve seen over many, many years.

Badenoch responded: “I completely reject the assertions that the honourable gentleman has made, and this is the political point scoring, which I talked about earlier which we just need to stop”. is the UK’s leading digital-only political website, providing comprehensive coverage of UK politics. Subscribe to our daily newsletter here.