Steerpike Steerpike

Will Ed Davey have to quit over the Post Office scandal?

Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

The role of the Liberal Democrat leader is normally a simple one: sit on the sidelines, demand resignations and attack the Tories for being so beastly. But the incumbent Sir Ed Davey is now in a bit of jam over the ongoing Post Office scandal. For prior to reinventing himself as the scourge of Conservatives everywhere, Davey served from 2010 until 2012 as the postal affairs minister in the Coalition government.

In this role, he was told of concerns about the Post Office’s faulty Horizon software, which eventually led to hundreds of postmasters being prosecuted over fraud, theft and false accounting. Davey is accused of ‘fobbing off’ those affected. Campaigner Alan Bates claims he sent the Lib Dem leader at least five letters when he was in office – including one in 2011 which warned him that legal action against the Post Office over the scandal could leave the taxpayer exposed to ‘astronomical’ costs. Davey subsequently earned £275,000 as a consultant with law firm Herbert Smith Freehills, who acted for the Post Office.

Of course, Davey is hardly unique in failing to act on such warnings and thoroughly investigate Bates’ warnings. But he is notable for his frequent calls for public figures to resign after their failings in office. Today’s Times points out that Davey has made 31 calls for people to resign from prominent positions on his Twitter/X account since April 2019. Among those who have incurred his wrath include Boris Johnson, Kwasi Kwarteng, Cressida Dick, Dominic Cummings, Chris Grayling, Priti Patel, Mark Field, Rishi Sunak, the former BBC chairman Richard sharp, the board of Thames Water and, er, ‘every Conservative MP who cares about integrity and decency.’

Perhaps it’s time for Davey to show some himself and quit…

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Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to or message @MrSteerpike

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