Kingston councillor’s petition calls for Ed Davey to return knighthood

Cllr Yvonne Tracey has launched a petition this month to revoke Sir Ed Davey of his Knighthood.

The petition, which has received over 23,000 signatures, criticises Sir Ed for his role as Postal Affairs Minister in the coalition government, during which time sub-postmasters were being prosecuted because of errors in the Post-Office’s accounting software.

Cllr Tracey, a former post-mistress herself and independent councillor for Kingston Council’s Opposition Group, says that Sir Ed ignored calls from the Justice for Sub-Postmasters Alliance to investigate the unjust sacking of post-office employees.

“If Mr Davey had helped when [Alan Bates] had first went to him as Postal Minister there would’ve been five less years of people being prosecuted and that makes me angry,” said Cllr Tracey.

Cllr Tracey has announced plans to run as MP for Kingston and Surbiton as an independent, standing against Sir Ed Davey.

She said the decision to run was made in order to maintain focus on the scandal.

“I want justice for these poor people because this has been going on for so long. One of the reasons I am standing is to keep the momentum up.”

Sir Ed received his knighthood in 2016 for political and public service.

Following his departure from Postal Affairs, Sir Ed joined the advisory board for Herbert-Smith Freehills, a law firm representing the Post-Office, in which he was paid £275,000. 

Tracey believes the petition will encourage Sir Ed to take “a step towards acknowledging and rectifying past mistakes”.

In an interview with ITV, Sir Ed expressed regret at being unable to uncover the “conspiracy of lies” presented by the Post-Office executives:

“The Post Office is lying to the sub-postmasters, lying to the victims, lying to the courts and judges, lying to ministers of all parties over two decades and also lying to the British public.”

Speaking to the Guardian, Sir Ed welcomed the decision of Scotland Yard to investigate possible offences related to the Post-Office’s prosecution of sub-postmasters.

He added: “We were reassured time and again that the Horizon system was working. We were told there weren’t that many postmasters affected. We were just told so many lies.”

A spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats said: “Ed has said that he wishes he knew then what we all know now – that the Post Office was lying to victims, him and other ministers on an industrial scale.”

They added: “Ed Davey has a reputation for being a hardworking local MP who has helped thousands of local people and businesses. His hard work has resulted in local people re-electing Ed for almost three decades.”

Cllr Tracey said she had received backing from across the country in demanding Sr Ed to return his honours.

“I’ve had support, so much support that I’ve been humbled by from all over the country. I’ve even had a letter from a gentleman in Scotland saying ‘I support you’.”

Cllr Tracey also believed that Sir Ed’s resignation would show proper accountability: “If it was me, I would have let so many people down. I would be happy or him to stand down in any capacity that he could stand down from.”

Kingston’s local Labour party have commented on the petition and the scandal and condemned the Liberal Democrats’ alleged failure to address concerns.

Labour stated that their priority was to ensure “swift and fair” compensation for the post-office employees affected, but that they did not support Cllr Tracey’s petition:

“The petition is spearheading an independent candidate’s campaign to become a parliamentary candidate. It is seeking reactionary votes in response to the scandal.”

The Horizon system was a stocktaking and accounting software developed by the Japanese company Fujitsu and was introduced to the Post-Office in 1999 under Sir Ian McCartney in Tony Blair’s Labour government.

Between 1999 and 2015, over 900 post-office employees were convicted due to errors by the Horizon software. Sir Ed Davey was one of 16 postal ministers during this time.

Paul Scully, the MP for Sutton and Cheam and also a former minister for Postal Affairs, launched an inquiry into the Post-Office in 2020.

As part of an interview with Good Morning Britain, Scully said: “This is all parties. This was under Conservatives, Labour, Lib-Dem ministers over that period.”

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Political Editor and Reporter for the Kingston Courier

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