Sunak announces emergency legislation to overturn Post Office scandal convictions

Rishi Sunak is “alarmed” by the escalating cost of HS2 amid claims that executives on the project have acted like “kids with the golden credit card”.

Prime minister Rishi Sunak has announced new legislation to overturn the convictions of the hundreds of sub-postmasters criminally prosecuted by the Post Office about a decade ago.

Sunak, speaking at prime minister’s questions in the House of Commons, said he wanted “justice and compensation” for the more than 700 people convicted for theft or false accounting.

“I can announce we will introduce new primary legislation to make sure those convicted as a result of the Horizon scandal are swiftly exonerated and compensated,” he told MPs.

The prime minister also pledged a “new upfront payment of £75,000” for more than 500 sub-postmasters.

Sunak said Kevin Hollinrake, the postal affairs minister, would provide more details of the scheme later on Wednesday.

“We will make sure the truth comes to light, rewrite the wrongs of the past,” he said.

Hundreds of people were criminally prosecuted by the Post Office between 2000 and 2014 using faulty data from the Horizon IT system provided by Fujitsu.

Compensation of £600,000 had been offered to every sub-postmaster whose conviction for theft or false accounting was overturned. To date, only 93 convictions have been overturned.