Former Royal Mail Chair Apologizes Amid Post Office Horizon Scandal

The former chair of Royal Mail, Allan Leighton, has issued an apology for the “tragic and diabolically unfair” prosecutions of post office operators, stemming from issues with the Post Office’s Horizon computer system. However, Leighton adamantly denies any prior knowledge of suspected problems with the faulty system.

Leighton, who chaired Royal Mail from 2002 to 2009, during its ownership of the Post Office, made these statements during a statutory inquiry. He stated that he had “absolutely not” received any warnings regarding the unreliability of the Horizon system.

Former Royal Mail chair apologizes for Post Office prosecutions.
Former Royal Mail chair apologizes for Post Office prosecutions. (Credit: Getty Images)

The Post Office is currently facing intense scrutiny as an inquiry delves into the scandal surrounding the Horizon computer system. Installed by contractor Fujitsu, errors within the system led to the wrongful prosecution of numerous post office operators for alleged theft. The ongoing inquiry aims to examine the failings that contributed to the scandal and determine whether there was any attempted cover-up.

Prime Minister labels as “greatest miscarriages of justice”

Rishi Sunak has labeled the scandal surrounding the Horizon computer system as “one of the greatest miscarriages of justice in our nation’s history.” Despite this, the government only pledged to overturn convictions based on Horizon evidence in January.

Post office operators had been advocating for justice for years, but it wasn’t until an ITV series dramatized Alan Bates’ struggle against his prosecution that the government took action.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak (Credit: Wiktor Szymanowicz/ Future Publishing via Getty Images)

Allan Leighton, a former chief executive of Asda and Pandora, as well as chair of several prominent companies including BHS,, and Selfridges, has been at the forefront of the discussion.

During his tenure as chair of the Royal Mail board, many wrongful prosecutions occurred. However, in his testimony and witness statement to the inquiry, he consistently maintained that he had no knowledge of any issues with Horizon, including correspondence from Bates.

Leighton attributed the scandal to the failure of certain individuals within the Post Office to escalate concerns about Horizon’s failures to higher authorities, citing procedural lapses. “It’s because of people that this happened,” he asserted during the inquiry.

Leighton says “Sorry”

Allan Leighton expressed deep regret over the unfolding scandal, particularly empathizing with the subpostmasters and subpostmistresses affected. “What’s happened has been a terrible thing for everybody who has been involved in it, particularly the subpostmasters, subpostmistresses,” Leighton stated.

Leighton issues apology: 'Sorry' for Post Office controversies.
Leighton issues apology: ‘Sorry’ for Post Office controversies. (Credit: Getty Images)

“It’s unbelievable that it’s happened and I just wanted to say that I’m sorry that the elements of that that occurred in my tenure at the Royal Mail, I am sorry for that happening.”

Regarding the technical issues plaguing many post office operators who attempted to utilize the Horizon system, Leighton clarified that the Post Office board typically wouldn’t get into such detailed technical matters or individual branch audits.

Arit Saha
Arit Saha
Arit Saha, an Economics graduate and budding content writer in Kolkata, deftly merges his passions for economics and global politics. He crafts engaging content weaving economic insights into geopolitical narratives. Contact: [email protected]
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