While applauding the extraordinary courage and resilience of the sub-postmasters who have campaigned for justice for so long, does my hon. Friend agree that the makers of “Mr Bates vs The Post Office” and ITV represent public service broadcasting at its best and that without that we would not be having this statement?
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
I thank my right hon. Friend for his question. I entirely agree; the programme brought the scandal into everybody’s living rooms, and although many people were vaguely or even very aware of it, they did not see its real effect in terms of the people it affected or the brutal way in which they were bullied and forced out of their businesses and livelihoods—and in 200 cases, I think, put in prison. The programme has done a fantastic job. We should pay tribute to ITV, its producers and the actors concerned,0 as well as to the many journalists—not least Nick Wallis, Tom Witherow and Karl Flinders—who brought these issues to light and into the public consciousness, which I am sure played a part in the producers’ decision to make the programme.