I will shortly publish this on my blog and you are more than welcome to reply – in your own words not the civil servants.
As I listened to your reply to this afternoon’s debate in the House of Commons I thought “here we go again”. Yet another minister put in charge of Post Office matters repeating the mantra provided to him by the civil service.
It was therefore very unfortunate that these same civil servants provided you with a lie, a downright blatant lie, to provide to those members in the chamber and to be recorded for posterity in Hansard. I’ll come back to that point later but just as I was formulating what I was going to write in this letter up stepped Kevan Jones and made exactly the points I was going to make so I hope you listened to him and appreciated the advice he gave you. In order to get to the bottom of this scandal and not become a part of it you MUST be your own man and investigate on your own the truth behind what has transpired.
Paul, the people who provided you with the script to churn out today are deeply deeply involved in the cover up. They are so arrogant that their ignorance has caught them up. They are as useless at supervising the goings on at the Post Office as they are at attempting to cover up their past behaviour and as we all know the cover up is a mere phase of a scandal. Once outed with evidence whistleblowers will come forward for pure arse protection reasons and not for any form of restitution for the subpostmasters affected. These civil servants think that because they and the Post Office are unaccountable that nobody has been watching them over the years, nobody has been taking notes and nobody has been researching whether or not what they say is the truth. Well sorry mate several people have and I am one of them and in a minute I will give you a very quick introduction into not only their lies but their very deliberate change in the wording they have given you to pass on to the House of Commons.
As an aside you happened to mention 400 new Post Offices being opened in the last couple of years. Do you have any idea who, why, where and when this happened? No I don’t believe you do. You just repeated what was put before you. Well Paul drop me a line and I will tell you all about it. It is not something POL should be particularly proud of but I can tell you why they have done it and it is not good news.
I, and some others, see a glimmer of hope in you Paul. If you are prepared to make a difference then the only thing you have to learn right now is that we are the good guys and the senior civil servants embroiled in this fiasco are the ones who are leading you down the wrong path. I hope you will sit down with Kevan soon and let him explain why he was shaking his head,as I was, when you repeated verbatim a line that the Minister used in the House of Lords in reply to Lord Arbuthnot.
You were told to say that POL have the same rights as any private individual to bring a criminal prosecution. That is not true and I have more than enough confidential material to support that assertion. They have always operated under the legislation that has provided RMG to bring private prosecutions for interference with the mail since the 19th Century. They have, actually I should say they believe they have, special prosecutory powers, because since 2012 and the separation of RMG and POL the legislation in this regard is open to question. Happily a question I have put to POL myself and they have answered it truthfully – something the Civil Servants now reading this will be looking for. I’ll give you a very easy example – what private individual bringing a criminal prosecution has full access to the Central Criminal Database (unaudited access as far as I can gather as well)?
Now if you understand and accept the above ask yourself why have the Civil Servants changed their answer? They have been asked the same before and provided the real truth. It is clearly to distance themselves from the fall out of the scandal. They are trying to cover up what they have done in the past and shift the blame on to another scapegoat. Do some research of your own Paul and you will find the truth. It is exactly what Paula Vennells tried to do but she asked the wrong people. If you ask the civil service you will be told what they want you to hear. Ask me, ask Lord Arbuthnot, ask Justice Fraser for goodness sake and you will hear the real truth and it will confirm that the real problem, the overriding problem is within the department you head.
I wish you well Paul in your new ministerial career. Make the wrong choice now and it could be a short one. No I correct that, if you make the wrong choice the civil servants will probably allow you to stay longer in the role if you agree to protect them. Make the right choice and expose them for what they are and your ministerial career may be shortened somewhat but your reputation will still be intact.
All the best in sorting this out and I would encourage you to watch the Panorama program on Monday.