Morrisons director resigns over Post Office scandal

Morrisons non-executive director Paula Vennells has resigned over her role in the Post Office scandal, in which 39 sub-postmasters were wrongly convicted for theft.

Under Vennells’ leadership, the Post Office spent millions prosecuting hundreds of employees over accounting shortfalls later attributed to defective IT software.

The court of appeal overturned the convictions last Friday.

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Vennells, a member of the Morrisons board since 2016, also stepped down from roles with the NHS, Cabinet Office, and furniture retailer Dunelm.

She took home fees of £89,000 from Morrisons and £30,000 from Dunelm in the past year.

“Paula has been an insightful, effective and hardworking non-executive director,” Morrisons chairman Andrew Higginson said.

“On behalf of the board, I want to thank her for her significant contribution over the last five years.”

“We respect Paula’s decision to step down from the board and I would like to thank her for the positive contribution she has made to the business,” Dunelm chairman Andy Harrison said.

Vennells has also resigned as a minister at the Church of St Owen in St Albans.

“I am truly sorry for the suffering caused to the 39 subpostmasters as a result of their convictions which were overturned last week,” she said.

“It is obvious that my involvement with the Post Office has become a distraction from the good work undertaken in the Diocese of St Albans and in the parishes I serve.”

“I have therefore stepped back with immediate effect from regular parish ministry, and intend to focus fully on working with the ongoing government inquiry to ensure the affected subpostmasters and wider public get the answers they deserve.”

The news comes after MPs accused former ministers, including current Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey, of ignoring warnings that the Post Office was wrongly prosecuting its staff.



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