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20th January, 2024.
Kevin Hollinrake MP is that most unlikely of people – a government minister that everyone in Parliament seems to like and approve of.
Normally when a government minister steps up to the despatch box in the House of Commons, as we can see on the Parliament channel on tv and sometimes on the main news channels as well, the statement he delivers is met by derision and deep criticism by their opposite number on the Labour benches.
But this was not so when Mr Hollinrake made his statement last week about the developments in the Post Office scandal.
Both sides of the House were united in supporting the need for rapid justice for the many postmasters and mistresses who were prosecuted wrongly by the Post Office and the many more who escaped prosecution sometimes by paying out of their own money to cover non-existent shortages, then abandoning their careers when the Post Office computer system, Horizon, wrongly showed a shortfall in the money in the branch accounts, a shortfall that was labelled as theft.
Strong support for his announcement did not absolve Mr Hollinrake from having to answer a stream of questions, from Members often repeating the same core points but wanting to mention their own constituents for the record.
It was a two-hour plus aerobics session: sit down, listen to the question, stand up and answer it, sit down, listen to the question, stand up…and so on.
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