Shamed Post Office boss ‘should lose CBE’


“It was controversial that Paula Vennells ever received a CBE in the first place – and yes of course she should now have it taken away following recent revelations over the Horizon scandal,” was Andy Furey’s reaction when CWU News asked him about the calls by MPs for those responsible for persecuting hundreds of postmasters to be “punished” and “shamed.”

In the House of Commons yesterday, New Forest East MP Dr Julian Lewis insisted that “those present or former Post Office officials who perpetrated this disaster and perpetuated the agony of the victims must be punished, not promoted.

‘They must be shamed, rather than rewarded with honours as I believe happened in at least one prominent instance,” he added, in what appeared to be a clear reference to the former Post Office chief executive, as reported by Daily Mail business correspondent Tom Witherow. 

And CWU assistant secretary Andy Furey made no bones about it today, saying: “Paula Vennells was in charge while hundreds, possibly even thousands of hard-working postmasters were being cruelly victimised as a result of a fundamentally flawed computer system.

“So yes, she was ultimately responsible, she claimed that the system was working well at a BEIS Select Committee in 2015 and she ultimately has to take responsibility for this enormous miscarriage of justice.

“So yes of course her CBE must be rescinded – but also she must be brought to account for her responsibility in causing such suffering to so many.”

Whistleblower Minh Alexander wrote an article on this matter last December, in which he detailed Ms Vennells’s comments and the circumstances of the 2015 hearing.

Ms Vennells, who held the company’s most senior post from 2012 until 2019, received the award in the 2019 New Year Honours List in what was a highly contentious decision, which many believed was politically motivated.

In a gushing tribute, Post Office chairman Tim Parker said: “This is well deserved recognition for Paula” and that “she cares deeply about the business, its people and its customers.”

The company also claimed that Ms Vennells’s Honour had been a recognition of “her commitment to the social purpose at the heart of the business.”

At the time, the CWU described the Honour as “an absolute shambles” and the Justice for Postmasters Alliance said that it was “stunned” at the “inappropriate award,” asking: “Surely they have made a mistake?”  

Andy says: “Yes, they made a huge mistake in awarding this CBE to such an undeserving individual who was exceptionally well paid and received enormous bonuses during her tenure as CEO.

“It must be rescinded – and this must be followed up by a full investigation and the bringing to account of all those responsible. This is the very least that should happen to help bring about justice to the hundreds of victims and the Government’s current Inquiry into this matter should investigate these issues”.