Politics

Post Office victim blasts Lib Dem chief Sir Ed Davey for silly election stunts instead of trying to win back trust


A POST Office victim featured in ITV’s drama has blasted Liberal Democrat “buffoon” Sir Ed Davey for silly election stunts instead of trying to win back trust.

Ex-subpostmaster Lee Castleton — who lost his livelihood in the Horizon scandal — says he has not been impressed with the party leader’s goofy campaign exploits.

Sir Ed Davey during a visit to Thorpe Park whilst on the General Election campaign trail

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Sir Ed Davey during a visit to Thorpe Park whilst on the General Election campaign trailCredit: PA
The Liberal Democrat's leader enjoys a ride on a waterslide

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The Liberal Democrat’s leader enjoys a ride on a waterslideCredit: LNP
Sir Ed takes a tumble on an obstacle course

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Sir Ed takes a tumble on an obstacle courseCredit: Getty
Lee Castleton — who lost his livelihood in the Horizon scandal — says he has not been impressed with the party leader’s goofy campaign exploits

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Lee Castleton — who lost his livelihood in the Horizon scandal — says he has not been impressed with the party leader’s goofy campaign exploits

Sir Ed’s ­publicity stunts have included going on a waterslide, riding a rollercoaster and doing an obstacle course.

But yesterday, he was hauled over the coals for his role in the Horizon scandal — after initially refusing to meet with campaigners such as Sir Alan Bates — when he was Post Office minister.

Appearing on the BBC, Sir Ed was shown a video message of Mr Castleton, who slammed him for his “buffoonery”.

The wronged subpostmaster, played by Will Mellor in ITV’s Mr Bates vs The Post Office, said: “It’s really, really important we trust him and trust is never going to be built by swinging around on ropes or paddleboarding in Cumbria.

“Trust is about engaging with the people that need that engagement.”

But Sir Ed defended his bizarre election strategy and insisted the stunts highlighted serious issues.

He said: “Well, on the subpostmaster, my heart really goes out to Lee and all the others who were so badly affected.

“And I’m looking forward to ­giving evidence to the inquiry, which I campaigned for, to hold people to account.

“But in terms of the things we’ve been doing, the stunts, actually the real issue is engaging people, and they have done.”

Of one particularly cringey ride down a waterslide he insisted: “When I was coming down that slide we were talking about mental health.”

Post Office hero Alan Bates knighted in King’s Birthday honours alongside cycling hero as huge music star and Strictly duo also get gongs

Sir Ed has been criticised for ­initially refusing to meet campaigning hero Sir Alan, only doing so later during his time as postal affairs minister when he was in the coalition government.

He has since claimed that he was acting on the advice of civil ­servants and blamed them for trying to ­prevent him from meeting the subpostmasters.

Mr Castleton, from Bridlington, East Yorkshire, was pursued and ended up bankrupt after the Post Office took him to court over £25,000 he didn’t steal.

A fault with the Horizon ­software made it appear money was missing.

Meanwhile, the Lib Dems are on course for a revival in the election on July 4 thanks to the Tories ­haemorrhaging votes in the “Blue Wall” of southern seats.

A recent poll suggested they would increase their current rump of 15 MPs to 56.



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