After Prime Minister Rishi Sunak confirmed that the justice secretary is "looking at" plans to exonerate the victims of the Post Office scandal, Alan Bates – the real-life figure portrayed by Toby Jones in Mr Bates vs the Post Office – has responded.


Bates and his partner Suzanne Sercombe, who is played by Julie Hesmondhalgh in the ITV drama, appeared on today's episode of This Morning, where they were asked about Sunak's comments.

Bates said: "I only heard them second hand, but he really needs to ensure things happen now and they happen at real speed – not just at pace, which he has commented on recently.

"There's no reason these things can't be sorted quickly if enough pressure is brought to bear and it's the compensation of the original people that fought the court case that needs resolving now. It's been going on for almost 20 years for a number of these people and they've got to be able to get on with their lives."

Meanwhile, Sercombe added: "I'm very disheartened personally that [Rishi Sunak] seems to be talking about it as something that's just from the past – the carry-over, the fallout is horrendous and it's been going on for years."

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Amit Shah as Jas, Krupa Pattani as Sam, Lesley Nicol as Pam, Ifan Huw Dafydd as Noel, Julie Hesmondhalgh as Suzanne, Toby Jones as Alan Bates, Monica Dolan as Jo, Asif Khan as Mohammad, Will Mellor as Lee and Shaun Dooley as Rudkin in Mr Bates vs The Post Office standing in front of a red background
Mr Bates vs The Post Office. ITV Studios/ITV

Bates said that he would be "interested to hear what comes out of" government discussions surrounding the overturning of any criminal convictions, and said that it should "just get on with" paying out compensation to victims.

"Stop holding it up with bureaucracy and just get it done," Bates added. "They know what needs to happen, let's see if they can actually do it."

Bates also spoke about the reaction to the drama, which rated highly in terms of overnight viewership and resonated strongly with viewers.

He said: "We're really pleased with it. It has been going, as you say, for over 20 years and it has from time to time been picked up in the media but all of a sudden, the drama has made a huge, huge difference.

"The drama does such a good job of exposing the suffering that people have been through. I'm not surprised the whole nation has been moved by it."

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Speaking on BBC One's Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg this weekend, the prime minister said: "Everyone has been shocked by watching what they have done over the past few days and beyond and it is an appalling miscarriage of justice.

"Actually seeing it and hearing about it again just shows what an appalling miscarriage of justice it is for everyone affected and it's important that those people now get the justice they deserve."

Mr Bates vs the Post Office is available to stream in full now on ITVX. This Morning airs weekdays from 10am on ITV1 and ITVX. Check out more of our Drama coverage or visit our TV Guide and Streaming Guide to find out what's on.


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