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FERGUS EWING: Honour Mr Bates for standing up to Post Office

By Fergus Ewing

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The Post Office used a flawed computer system.
The Post Office used a flawed computer system.

Last week in Holyrood was dominated by the Post Office scandal.

The ITV programme Mr Bates vs the Post Office galvanised the public, and in just one week governments pledged to exonerate the near 1000 people wrongly convicted and compensate all who lost out.

When I say lost out: sub postmasters and mistresses lost their business, home, livelihood, reputation and in some tragic instances even took their own lives.

Post Office top brass appeared to know early on that the Horizon computer system was flawed, but despite that still pressed on with their prosecutions based on its tainted evidence. There are also serious questions for the Crown Office in Scotland to answer.

In Holyrood, I urged the justice secretary to use emergency law to exonerate all those convicted in Scotland since all relied on the flawed system. The very next day the First Minister agreed to do so.

But it was the power of the people moved by an excellent piece of television drama, not my advocacy , that won the day.

The job is not yet done. I shall continue to press both for quashing all convictions and full compensation. Mr Bates himself is now a national hero. Only through the perseverance of this one man, was the greatest miscarriage of justice of our time eventually addressed by the state.

I hope the state now award him a life peerage in the House of Lords. They could do with his wisdom there. Maybe Lady Michelle Mone should yield up her place for him!

First Minister to be invited to Nairn

I failed to catch the eye of the Presiding Officer last Thursday at First Minister’s Questions.

I had earlier submitted a “bid” for a question to Humza Yousaf on the dualling of the A96 and Nairn bypass.

I can’t complain: I get called a lot. However, I would have asked and will now instead write to Humza asking if he will come to Nairn to address a public meeting there on the A96 and answer questions from the public.

Nairn has been waiting in vain for decades for

its bypass. Humza’s iron-clad promises must be delivered.

And the FM, like me, is a public servant accountable to and paid by the taxpayer. We should be seen as well as heard.

I am sure Nairnites would like to see Humza... and guarantee him a very warm welcome!

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