Parliament Matters

Post Office Horizon scandal: what is Parliament doing about it?

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Episode notes

Should Parliament simply overturn the convictions of postmasters caught up in the Post Office Horizon scandal? That’s what the Government proposes to do through the Post Office (Horizon system) Offences Bill. But quashing of convictions is normally a matter for the courts. Some MPs have misgivings about setting a constitutional precedent as well as practical concerns about how the Bill will be implemented. We talk to the Chair of the Justice Select Committee, Sir Bob Neill MP.

Meanwhile, SNP MPs are furious that UK Ministers have declined to extend the provisions of the Bill to postmasters convicted north of the border. So why does the Bill apply to all other parts of the UK but not to Scotland? Does this tell us anything about the politics of devolution?

As Westminster braces for the local election results we discuss what to look out for – not just winners and losers but turnout and the size of the party swing - and the implications particularly for Rishi Sunak.

Following Conservative MP Dan Poulter’s defection to Labour we ask what does it take to cross the floor of the House of Commons? Is it an act of conscience or the act of a cynical turncoat? How often does it happen?

And we answer listener’s questions. Hypothetically, what would happen if a Prime Minister’s party retained a parliamentary majority at the general election, but the Prime Minister lost their seat? 

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Parliament Matters is a Hansard Society production supported by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust.

Producer: Richard Townsend

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