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Post Office (Horizon System) Offences Bill completes passage through Parliament

24 May 2024 (updated on 24 May 2024)

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Members of the House of Lords completed their examination of the Post Office (Horizon System) Offences Bill on Thursday 23 May.

The Post Office (Horizon System) Offences Bill will quash the convictions of postmasters and others in England, Wales and Northern Ireland who were charged with theft, fraud and related offences as a consequence of the Post Office Horizon IT scandal.

Wash-up period

Due to the upcoming general election, Parliament will be dissolved on Thursday 30 May. To prevent this bill from falling at the end of this Parliament, its remaining stages have been fast-tracked. This period of completing unfinished business before a general election is known as the ‘wash-up’.

The remaining stages that were considered were:

  • Committee stage, a detailed examination of the separate parts (clauses) of a bill.
  • Report stage, a further chance to examine the bill and make changes.
  • Third reading, a chance to tidy up the text of the bill.

Committee stage debate

Members speaking during committee stage put forward amendments (PDF) to the bill on a range of subjects, including:

  • software systems used by the Post Office
  • provisions of the legislation in Scotland
  • power to bring prosecutions
  • admissibility of computer evidence.

Lords divisions

There was one division (vote) on an amendment regarding convictions considered by the Court of Appeal in England and Wales.

Members voted to disagree with this amendment, and so the change was not made.

Catch up

Remaining stages

The remaining stages of the bill - report stage and third reading - took place later in the day. 

Catch up

Explore further information

Find out more about the bill in the House of Lords Library briefing.

The bill was sent to the Commons with amendments (changes) for their consideration. The Commons agreed to these changes and the bill received Royal Assent on 24 May, becoming an Act of Parliament (law).

What's happened so far?

Second reading, a full debate on the key principles of the bill, took place Monday 13 May. 

Image: UK Parliament / Tyler Allicock

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