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15th Jun 2024

Post Office campaigner Alan Bates has been knighted

Ryan Price

The former subpostmaster has been included in the King’s birthday honours.

Alan Bates, the campaigner who highlighted the Post Office scandal, has been handed a knighthood in King Charles’ birthday honours.

The former post office operator founded the Justice for Sub-postmasters Alliance, and was one of the key voices and campaigners in bringing attention to the Horizon IT scandal, in which hundreds of sub-postmasters were wrongly prosecuted between 1999 and 2015 after faulty software said money was missing from Post Office branch accounts.

Bates’ campaigning over the years helped lead to the mass quashing of hundreds of the convictions.

One of the biggest miscarriages of justice in British history, it gathered national attention following the broadcast of ITV drama, Mr Bates vs The Post Office, in January this year.

Speaking about the accolade, Bates told Sky News that it comes as “recognition of the sheer hell that they’ve been through over the years”.

“It’s not just for me, it’s for all of them,” he said, referring to former employees of the Post Office who were wrongfully convicted of stealing.

He said he had been told about the knighthood while watching former Post Office boss Paula Vennells give evidence at the Post Office inquiry.

Bates added that he hoped the honour would be “another string to my bow to help me go forward and get some finality for people”.

The 69-year-old is among a list of names to be awarded by the monarch.

Other famous faces given the honour include Duran Duran frontman Simon Le Bon, artist Tracy Emin, cyclist Mark Cavendish and Scottish satirist and writer Armando Iannuci.

Former prime minister Gordon Brown has received the highest award possible, being made a Companion of Honour.

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