A petition urges Rishi Sunak to grant Alan Bates a life peerage for his fight against Post Office injustices and impact on justice and public service reform.

A petition urges Rishi Sunak to grant Alan Bates a life peerage for his fight against Post Office injustices and impact on justice and public service reform.

F or two decades, Alan Bates waged a David-versus-Goliath battle against the Post Office, fighting for justice for hundreds of subpostmasters wrongly accused of financial discrepancies due to a faulty computer system.

His relentless pursuit of truth inspired an ITV drama, garnered national attention, and ignited a public conversation about accountability and corporate responsibility. Now, a petition calls for a fitting recognition of his extraordinary service: a life peerage in the House of Lords.

This isn’t just about honouring Mr Bates’ individual struggle; it is about acknowledging the profound impact he has had on our understanding of fairness, justice, and public service. As Dr Joe Pajak, a governor of an NHS Foundation Trust hospital, fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and the petition’s initiator, argues:

“His appointment would be in recognition of his unwavering dedication and tireless campaign seeking justice for all subpostmasters affected by the Post Office use of the Horizon computer system.”

— Dr Joe Pajak

A Fight for Justice

Imagine losing your life savings, facing criminal charges, and even imprisonment, all based on inaccurate software. This was the plight of hundreds of subpostmasters caught in the web of the Post Office’s Horizon IT system. The software, riddled with flaws, falsely flagged missing funds, leading to devastating consequences for innocent individuals.

Enter Alan Bates. Refusing to accept his own wrongful conviction, he embarked on a relentless campaign. He meticulously documented inconsistencies, rallied fellow victims and exposed the system’s shortcomings to the media. His courage and tenacity brought national attention to the scandal, ultimately forcing the Post Office to admit the software’s flaws and overturn convictions.

His message resonated deeply. Over 41,000 signatures on the petition so far, and journalist Marina Hyde’s words in The Guardian are testaments to the widespread admiration for his tireless efforts.

“The PM says the campaigner should have a knighthood, but why stop there? He could show feckless peers what public service looks like.

“Isn’t he precisely the sort of person most people would like to have in an upper chamber worth its salt? Dogged, steely, unshowy, and unemotional by design, Bates is almost tailor-made of the characteristics we ought to seek in public servants.”

— Marina Hyde

More Than a Knighthood

Dr Pajak aptly argues that a knighthood, while commendable, wouldn’t fully capture the significance of Mr Bates’ contribution. A life peerage, however, represents more than just an honour; it offers a platform to amplify his voice and empower him to continue making a difference.

Imagine Alan Bates in the House of Lords, using his firsthand experience to champion crucial reforms, advocate for ethical corporate practices, and ensure such injustices never happen again. His presence would inject a much-needed dose of real-world experience and unwavering moral compass into the chamber.

“Such an honour will not only acknowledge his remarkable endeavours but also provide a platform for his continued contribution to the betterment of society.”

— Dr Joe Pajak

Empowering Public Service

By elevating Mr Bates to the House of Lords, we wouldn’t just be rewarding individual merit; we would be sending a powerful message about the values we cherish. We would be showcasing that true public service transcends titles and accolades and that it is about courage, perseverance, and a relentless pursuit of fairness.

This isn’t just about Mr. Bates; it is about redefining the very notion of public service. It is about ensuring that the corridors of power resonate with the voices of those who stand up for what is right, even when faced with overwhelming odds.

It is about reminding ourselves that true heroes often emerge from the most unexpected places, armed with nothing but conviction and an unwavering commitment to justice.

“Alan Bates deserves more than a knighthood; he could redefine public service for peers.”

— Dr Joe Pajak

Let’s honour Mr Bates by granting him a seat in the House of Lords, not just for what he has achieved but for the future he inspires. Let his story be a beacon, reminding us that the power to effect change lies within each of us and that even the most ordinary individuals can rise to become extraordinary champions of justice.

PMP Magazine

To sign the petition calling on Rishi Sunak to appoint Alan Bates as a Life Peer, simply click here.



▪ This piece was first published in PUBLIC SQUARE UK on 6 February 2024.
Cover: Flickr/UK Parliament/House of Lords. (Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.)
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