This week's column for the Herald and Post...
Like everyone, I am appalled by what has happened with the Horizon Post Office scandal. Countless lives destroyed and one of the biggest miscarriages of justice we have ever seen in this country.
So many of you have written to me following the brilliant ITV documentary ‘Mr Bates vs The Post Office’ to express your horror about what went on over two decades.
Many of you will also have been struck by the Herald’s interview last week with Jo Hamilton of the South Warnborough Post Office, who continues the fight.
The scandal badly affected dedicated postmasters locally as it did across the country. And it was a long-standing campaign for James, now Lord, Arbuthnot.
The damage caused cannot be undone, but it’s imperative that we establish what went wrong, and who knew what and when. Sir Wyn William’s now statutory public inquiry will, I hope, provide us answers.
It’s the very least we should expect for those men and women that lost so much, some of whom are no longer here to find out what really happened at the Post Office.
I hope that the Post Office Compensation Bill and the clearing of the names of those so wronged will go some way to fixing the broken lives left in the wake of Horizon.
Another issue exercising many who wrote to me in the last week is Hampshire County Council’s consultation on future services.
If you weren’t aware, this consultation is asking for views on the steps the council might need to take to balance its books by 2025 as a result of a projected budget shortfall of £135million.
This covers a very broad range of council services including non-statutory passenger transport, grant funding schemes, street lighting and the provision of local tips, or Household Waste Recycling Centres.
It is this latter service that, judging from my inbox, is the most immediately contentious among East Hants residents – though there will be strong views across all the areas covered.
I very much welcome the comments made by EHDC leader Councillor Richard Millard in last week's Herald when he made it clear that he would oppose any proposals to close East Hampshire's tips.
It is so important that residents participate in this consultation. Nothing at this point is set in stone; everything in the document is up for discussion. So do please get those responses in.