Lib Dem leader Ed Davey squirmed pathetically today as he refused 10 times to apologise over the Post Office scandal.
Sir Ed desperately dodged as he was pressed over his handling of the outrage while minister for postal services in the coalition.
In a toe-curling ITV interview, the MP – who initially refused even to meet justice campaigner Alan Bates in 2010 – was challenged to ‘draw a line’ under days of ducking and diving by simply apologising.
But when he started his reply by saying ‘of course I regret’, reporter Paul Brand interrupted to insist: ‘That’s not an apology. Why don’t you say ”I am sorry”?’
Sir Ed pressed on: I’ve said time and time again, that I deeply regret…’
However, the interviewer told him: ‘That’s not an apology Sir Ed.’
Ignoring the entreaty, the MP tried again with his argument that he had been ‘lied to’.
‘I was lied to on an industrial scale. And, of course, I’m sure every other post office minister who was lied to regrets that they were part of this huge conspiracy that the Post Office perpetrated,’ he said.
An increasingly exasperated Brand persisted: ‘Why can’t you say sorry?’
‘It’s the least they deserve. Look what they’ve been through,’ he said. ‘Just say sorry for your part in not having got to the answers.’
When Sir Ed repeated his stance about his ‘heart going out’ to those who had been caught up in the scandal, he was told: ‘Not enough to say sorry?’
The Lib Dem leader insisted ‘I deeply regret it took till 2019 and the High Court case until people got the truth’, saying the focus now needs to be on ‘getting that compensation quickly’.
He was then given ‘one last chance to say sorry’, but trotted out the same formulation about ‘regretting what happened’.
In a final shot, Brand said: ‘The postmasters don’t deserve an apology?
However, Sir Ed responded: ‘Postmasters deserve a huge amount. They deserve compensation. They deserve a huge apology from the Post Office, from Fujitsu and from all the people who led this conspiracy of lies against them and frankly the whole British public.’