Business Secretary confirms judge to lead Horizon scandal review

An inquiry examining a Post Office computer scandal will be judge-led and start this week, the Government has said.

Business Secretary Alok Sharma told MPs that former High Court judge Sir Wyn Williams will chair the review into the plight of sub-postmasters involved in the Horizon IT scandal.

Campaigners have called for a judge-led inquiry for several months and have criticised delays in launching the review.

Hundreds of postmasters were wrongly accused of false accounting and theft following problems with the defective Horizon IT system.

While some were sacked or made bankrupt, others were prosecuted and jailed.

Last year the Post Office paid a £57.75 million settlement after more than 550 claimants brought group legal action over the Horizon system, which was found to contain software flaws that caused financial shortfalls in the subpostmasters’ branch accounts over a number of years.

An investigation also showed that Post Office managers knew IT problems could be to blame for missing money, but still prosecuted staff.

Speaking in the Commons, Mr Sharma said: “I know that the plight of subpostmasters involved in the Horizon IT scandal has rightly concerned many MPs.

“There have been repeated calls for a judge-led inquiry into this matter.

“I can confirm to the House that Sir Wyn Williams, a former High Court judge, will chair the Government’s inquiry, which begins this week.

“The terms of reference have been expanded following feedback from former postmasters and MPs, and (business minister Paul Scully) who is leading the work in my department on this area will be pleased to update colleagues.”