Lee Anderson kicked off today’s session of PMQs with a jibe at the Lib Dems’ leader’s expense. The Red Wall rottweiler rose from his seat to suggest that, in light of his failure to act on the Post Office scandal, the under-fire Ed Davey take his own advice on resignations from public office and ‘Clear his desk, clear his diary and clear off.’ Today’s Times carries a similar call from the usually-sympathetic columnist Danny Finkelstein.
Davey’s absence from parliament for family reasons meant he was not tasked with responding to the subsequent Urgent Question on the Post Office. Shortly after Kevin Hollinrake had spoken at the despatch box, an email arrived in Steerpike’s inbox with a response from the lucky Lib Dem assigned that honour. ‘It should never have taken this long to get justice,’ declared Davey’s colleague Alistair Carmichael. Gee, if only they had been in a position to do something about it…
While Davey will probably survive the current scandal, he is unlikely to emerge unscathed. This afternoon LBC reported that a postmaster in his constituency repeatedly tried to contact the former cabinet minister but allegedly received no support. Then there’s the question of his knighthood, bestowed after he lost his seat in 2015. With former Post Office boss Paula Vennells having now returned her CBE, Sir Ed is the most prominent political name in the frame connected with the Horizon catastrophe.
Campaigner Alan Bates has previously turned down a gong on the grounds that the honours’ system was tainted by those involved in the scandal. Currently, there are no signs of Davey being willing to return his ‘K’. His spokesman told GB News:
No he will not. As Ed has said many times, he wishes he’d known then what we all know now. It’s right that Vennells gave back her CBE, she was at the centre of a conspiracy of lies against the victims, the public and ministers of all parties.