The accusations – which actually came about as a result of faulty IT software – caused long-term effects in many people’s lives, including bankruptcy, prison sentences and some people sadly taking their own lives.
Susanna pointed out to their guest that the government ‘is the sole shareholder in the Post Office’ and so ‘effectively runs’ and is ‘responsible’ for the institution.
‘Hundreds and hundreds of these people were prosecuted on the base of – as David Davis, a colleague of yours said – a single lie. How come the government didn’t notice? You were asleep on duty, weren’t you?’
Susanna didn’t hold back in her line of questioning (Picture: ITV)
The broadcaster went on to tell the MP that the prosecutions ‘carried on happening while you were in government for a number of years’.
Stressing how long the scandal has been going on for since it first happened, she stated: ‘We’re talking about 13 years of government, three years of which, actually five years of which these prosecutions carried on taking place.
‘I ask again why didn’t the ministers who were in charge of the Post Office, when you first came into government, go: “Hang on a minute, there are hundreds of people being prosecuted here. 700 people, and those are the ones who were convicted, they can’t all be criminals! What’s going wrong here?”’
Mr Stride told the GMB presenter that she was ‘quite rightly asking fundamentally important questions’.
However, in response to Susanna’s line of questioning, he said that the inquiry will be able to answer the queries that she has.
Actor Toby Jones plays Alan Bates in Mr Bates vs The Post Office (Picture: ITV/Shutterstock)
The real Mr Bates recently appeared on This Morning with his wife Suzanne (Picture: ITV)
The broadcaster had asked: ‘Was a minister responsible for the Post Office at the point where you came into government?’
She highlighted how many prosecutions were still taking place years after the Post Office scandal first began, asking why no ministers whose work involved the Post Office thought to question what was going on.
‘You’ve been in government since 2010, and as I say, those prosecutions were going on at that time. Why did the minister for the Post Office not say when you came into government, my goodness, what’s going on here?’ she said.
‘Because people are saying there’s a miscarriage of justice, they’re wrongly convicted, and yet these convictions and these prosecutions are still going on! Those ministers have questions to answer!’
Mr Stride then answered: ‘So the inquiry, Susanna, is the vehicle that will answer those questions. And there will be plenty of speculation around the answer to that question and many others in the interim.’
The public inquiry into the controversy is currently still ongoing, with the Metropolitan Police recently confirming that the Post Office is under criminal investigation following the release of the ITV drama.
Scotland Yard said that officers were ‘investigating potential fraud offences arising out of these prosecutions’, for example, ‘monies recovered from sub-postmasters as a result of prosecutions or civil actions’.
Good Morning Britain airs weekdays from 6am on ITV.
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