The Spectator

Portrait of the week: Post Office scandal, Tube strikes off and dog meat banned


Although it had long been known that between 1999 and 2015 more than 700 sub-postmasters were convicted of false accounting, theft and fraud (based on the faulty Horizon computer accounting system software), the government suddenly proposed to do something about it because of a public outcry following an ITV drama, Mr Bates vs the Post Office. The Metropolitan Police was investigating the Post Office over fraud possibly arising from money being ‘recovered from sub-postmasters as a result of prosecutions or civil actions’. Paula Vennells, who held high office in the Post Office from 2007 to 2019, said she was handing back her CBE ‘with immediate effect’, although it is the King’s role to annul it; more than a million people had signed a petition calling for its revocation. Among the week’s stabbings a man was found, fatally wounded, at seven minutes to midnight at Strawberry Hill railway station.

A week-long strike on the London Underground was averted by the intervention of Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, with an offer of more money for the RMT union workers. Parents who refuse to allow their children to change gender would face up to seven years in jail under proposals by the SNP to ban ‘conversion therapy’. Student loans in England are expected to cost the government an extra £10 billion a year, because of higher interest rates, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies. The Wales and Lions rugby player J.P.R. Williams died aged 74.

Chris Skidmore, annoyed at government plans for annual oil and gas licensing rounds, left parliament on being appointed Crown Steward and Bailiff of the Chiltern Hundreds in place of Nadine Dorries. Helen Harrison, the partner of the ex-Conservative MP Peter Bone, was selected as the Tory candidate in the Wellingborough by-election caused by his removal as an MP by a recall petition.

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