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    Politics over Scottish subpostmasters as Badenoch slams Yousaf

    (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

    Secretary of State for Business and Trade Kemi Badenoch has called out the Scottish National Party (SNP), accusing the party of being “too lazy” over a lack of action over the Horizon Post Office scandal.

    Reacting over Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf’s allegation on UK government of using Scottish subpostmasters as a “political pawn” and unfairly treating them, Badenoch pointed out that not only does Scotland have a seperate legal system, but that Yousaf confused Royal Mail and the Post Office.

    “Scotland has a different legal system to the rest of GB. The SNP want independence but are too lazy to do the work. They have powers to get justice for the postmasters. They should stop whining and get on with it! Mr Yousaf has also confused Royal Mail with the Post Office,” reports quoted Badenoch as saying.

    Scottish Conservative MSP Stephen Kerr pointed out that Yousaf had previously displayed anger when he felt Westminster was involving itself in devolved affairs

    The statements come as Yousaf accused UK government of excluding Scotland in clearing victims of the Horizon post office scandal.

    Yousaf said, “I’m utterly furious about the fact that the UK Government has chosen to extend their legislation to every part of the United Kingdom except Scotland. The unfair treatment of Scottish subpostmasters and subpostmistresses is completely unacceptable.

    “The fact of the matter is it is hard to think the UK Government is doing anything other than using our Scottish subpostmasters as a political pawn. That is outrageous and unacceptable and I will be writing to the Prime Minister in order to ask him to reverse that decision.”

    The Justice Secretary Angela Constance also expressed disapproval that the UK government was “inexplicably” refusing to quash convictions for sub-postmasters in Scotland, despite extending new legislation to Northern Ireland.

    “We fully support the extension of this Bill to cover Northern Ireland, but it is outrageous that the UK government has declined to also include Scotland. Sub-postmasters north of the border will be the only victims in the UK not covered by the legislation at Westminster.”

    She added that it was a “betrayal of Scotland’s Horizon victims for UK ministers to behave in this manner” and that the UK government decision was “petty political point-scoring”.

    Meanwhile, the Post Office Horizon IT enquiry continues. Most recently, the inquiry heard that former top Post Office lawyers had an “unhealthy view of subpostmasters” as they pursued prosecutions against them. A former top in-house lawyer for the company said colleagues viewed alleged shortfalls in Horizon accounts as coming from public money that had to be protected.

    More than 700 subpostmasters were wrongly prosecuted and handed criminal convictions between 1999 and 2015 as Fujitsu’s faulty Horizon system made it appear as though money was missing at their branches.

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