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To: Sir Chris Wormald, Chair of the Forfeiture Committee, Cabinet Office

Post Office Scandal: Strip Paula Vennells of her CBE

09/01/24 - We did it!

Ex-Post Office boss Paula Vennells has bowed to our 1.2 million strong petition and will hand back her CBE with immediate effect.

She said she was “truly sorry for the devastation caused to the subpostmasters and their families” and that she as continuing to support and co-operate with the inquiry into the scandal.

She added: “I am, however, aware of the calls from sub-postmasters and others to return my CBE. I have listened and I confirm that I return my CBE with immediate effect.”

David Smith, who started this petition said:

"Thank you to each and every person who has signed this petition. It has been a catalyst for action allowing us to have a voice and is hopefully a first historic step on the path to the victims of the Post Office scandal getting the justice they deserve."

“To me, the removal of the CBE is just the start. The ultimate goal is for the subpostmasters to get the justice they deserve. In many ways, this is symbolic, but it is a massive symbol."

“What I’m hoping is that as soon as somebody as senior as her is held accountable at this level, it will start a domino effect that will lead to the justice and compensation that everyone affected deserves.”

You can read more about the story here

In other news a new petition has been started calling for Alan Bates to be honoured for his role in exposing the Post Office scandal. You can sign that here

Remove the CBE granted to Paula Vennells due to her role in the wrongful prosecution of 550 Post Office staff as part of the Horizon computer scandal.

Why is this important?

Evidence has been produced that the Post Office engaged in a mass cover up which led to the wrongful prosecution of 550 Post Office Staff many of whom were subsequently jailed, bankrupted and in some cases, sadly took their own lives.

The initial Post Office investigation in 2012 failed to find any issues and as a result in 2012, Second Sight, an independent investigative firm were brought in to investigate complaints that the Horizon system used in post offices was inaccurate, buggy and could 'lose money'. Despite pledging full co-operation initially, Post Office subsequently withheld documents from the investigation and Paula Vennells later failed to answer a select committee when challenged on why this documents had not been produced as requested. The damning report, marked as 'confidential' stated that the Horizon system was 'not fit for purpose' and among their discoveries were 12,000 communication failures every year, software defects at 76 branches and that the system was failing to track money from lottery terminal, tax disc sales and cash machines properly. It concluded that rather than investigate the cause of such errors, Post Office instead accused sub-postmasters of theft. The Post Office dismissed the report which was subsequently leaked to the BBC in 2014.

Despite Paula Vennells assertion that Post Office "have been working with Second Sight over the last few weeks on what we agreed at the outset. We have been provided the information" to Parliament at her select committee appearance in 2015, the lead investigator for Second Sight, Adrian Bailey, when asked if this was the case said categorically, "No, it is not" which meant that he could not access files to back up his suspicions that Post Office Ltd had brought cases against sub-postmasters with 'inadequate investigation and inadequate evidence'. The requested files had still not been handed over to Second Sight 18 months later.

In March 2015, on the eve of the Second Sight report publication, Private Eye reported that the Post Office had instructed Second Sight to end their investigation, destroy all paperwork and scrapped the independent committee that had been convened.

In 2019, a class action case, Bates & Ors v Post Office Ltd, was settled by the Post Office in favour of the 550 sub-postmasters for over £58 million.

Mr Justice Fraser, the judge in the case concluded that the approach of the Post Office: "amounted, in reality, to bare assertions and denials that ignore what has actually occurred, at least so far as the witnesses called before me in the Horizon Issues trial are concerned. It amounts to the 21st century equivalent of maintaining that the earth is flat."

Mr Justice Fraser, so concerned by what he had seen in the case, has passed a file to the Director of Public Prosecutions. In the Lords, Baron Arbuthnot of Edrom said in November 2019: "My own suggestion is that the government should clear out the entirety of the board and senior management of the Post Office and start again, perhaps with the assistance of consultancy services from Second Sight, who know where the bodies are buried.".

Having been handed a CBE for services to the Post Office, and moved out into other senior positions in government and healthcare, it is only right that this award is now withdrawn through the process of forfeiture.

Paula Vennells has subsequently refused to answer questions from these staff as well as the media and has refused to apologise for the cover-up, misery and trauma caused which has brought not only herself but the Post Office, the honours system and government into disrepute.



2024-01-07 15:24:20 +0000

BREAKING NEWS - Met Police Launch Post Office Scandal Investigation as petition to remove Paula Vennells CBE approaches 900,000

Update below:

Thank you for your continued support.

2024-01-07 13:55:12 +0000

900,000 signatures reached

2024-01-07 13:52:41 +0000

There's been well over 50,000 additional signatures alone today - thank you! All this momentum is only possible due to your action.

Many people have been reaching out to me asking what they can do in addition to signing the petition.

I have produced a short video explainer of how you can contact your MP to ask them to take action on behalf of yourself as their constituents and the sub postmasters:

I hope this helps. Thank you again.

2024-01-07 10:37:00 +0000

Good morning everyone,

A little update below following Rishi Sunak's appearance on the Sunday with Laura programme this morning as well as some analysis of what's he's said, what it means and updates on the petition.

Thanks again for all your signatures and your messages. I am truly overwhelmed and ever grateful for your support.

2024-01-06 22:27:40 +0000

800,000 signatures reached

2024-01-06 21:49:19 +0000

Hi there,

Things are moving fast and the emails continue to flood in. There is an important couple of clarifications that I've been asked to make and I've highlighted in a video update which you can watch here:

(It's much faster for me to speak than type!) I've also answered the common queries that I've been getting so I hope this answers your questions but please do feel free to add any extra questions to the video comments/email and I promise I will try to get around to them all.

Sorry in advance for the lack of individual replies to everyone but thank you so much for your continued support for the Subpostmasters whose lives have been been forever changed by this scandal.

2024-01-06 21:09:37 +0000 Petition - Thank you!

Thank you for your overwhelming response in little more than 3 minutes. has confirmed that the petition will be checked now and, if it meets their standards, they will put it live. I will keep you updated on the progress.

They have said:
"8 people have supported your petition so far. We’re checking your petition to make sure it meets the petition standards. If it does, we’ll publish it. We have a very large number of petitions to check at the moment so it may take us longer than usual to check your petition. Thank you for your patience"

"Once your petition has 21 signatures it won’t be able to add more until it’s been checked. So, please wait until it’s been checked and published before sharing it with lots more people."

2024-01-06 21:04:25 +0000

People have asked if there is an official Petition so that this is delivered to/debated by parliament. I have created this below:

Please note - 5 supporters are required for the petition to be considered to go live.

Please also note that once the petition reaches 21 supporters the petitions team of will be required to review it before any further signatures can be added.

Apologies for any inconvenience however this process on the petitions website is outside of my control.

I will keep you updated.

Thank you for signing in advance.

Kind regards,

2024-01-06 20:54:47 +0000

Stripping Paula Vennells of her CBE is not enough!
I would agree, however the fact that this honour was given for services to the Post Office is a slap in the face to all those people, and their families, who have been victims of one of the largest miscarriages of justice ever seen in this country.

I cannot imagine the pain this has caused for them, their loved ones and their friends. I truly believe that the only people who can decide what is considered an appropriate punishment are the subpostmasters and their families who have been put through hell due to errors in the Horizon IT system but I absolutely support any action and resolution that they are seeking wholeheartedly.

2024-01-06 20:54:37 +0000

When will the petition be delivered?
I am more than happy for the petition to be delivered at any time, and whilst I do not want to deprive others the opportunity of signing the petition I do understand that the recent media attention from the heartbreaking and moving drama Mr Bates vs The Post Office on ITV this week has led to renewed interest in the subject. I will be discussing the next steps in the coming days to come up with a plan.

2024-01-06 20:54:25 +0000

Why does the target number of signatures keep changing?
Please be aware that individual petition creators, such as myself, do not control the target number of signatures. This is controlled by the 38 Degrees platform itself. I believe the platform is configured to set a new target or goal for signatures as soon as the previous one is reached.

2024-01-06 20:54:00 +0000

A number of queries have been raised and whilst I sincerely wish to respond to each and every one, I have literally been overwhelmed with many hundreds of emails so far. I hope that some of the key queries raised are addressed satisfactorily below but please feel free to contact me with any more.

Is the petition still active?
Yes. Whilst it started all the way back in 2020 the petition is still very much active.

2024-01-06 19:58:05 +0000

Wow! Well this has certainly blown up after a few years of trying to get traction!

May thanks to the literally hundreds of thousands of you who have come to sign this petition.

It’s as important as ever that people are held to account for this terrible ordeal that has affected so many people.

Thanks again for signing!

2024-01-06 13:41:33 +0000

700,000 signatures reached

2024-01-05 23:00:14 +0000

600,000 signatures reached