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Post Office chief Nick Read denies supplying ‘misleading evidence’ to MPs

Post Office chief executive Nick Read has denied supplying “misleading evidence” to MPs relating to the company’s use of non-disclosure agreements and PR firms.

A report by the Commons Business and Trade Committee concluded that Mr Read had supplied misleading evidence to its members on “at least two counts”.

The report, published on Thursday, stated the Post Office’s leadership “remains in disarray”, noting Mr Read is “under internal investigation”.

In a letter to committee chair Liam Byrne in response to the report, Mr Read said “in our view our evidence was not misleading”.

The letter, sent by Mr Read on Thursday, said: “In the report, you stated that I supplied ‘misleading evidence’ to the committee on two counts, relating to the Post Office’s use of non-disclosure agreements and public relations firms.

“During my first evidence session, on 16th January, I was asked about the use of NDAs, and in my follow-up letter of 5th February I clarified my response.”

Mr Read highlighted his clarification which stated there were “no confidentiality provisions in the settlements being agreed through the Horizon shortfall scheme” and that “postmasters are free to discuss these in full with anyone they choose to once they have been agreed”.

In his letter, Mr Read also stated that all of the PR firms used by the Post Office had been contracted “since well before the broadcast” of Mr Bates vs The Post Office by ITV.

Mr Read had been asked by committee member Jonathan Gullis in January as to whether the Post Office had “hired any public relations companies to handle this crisis after the drama aired”.

The Post Office chief executive’s response at the time was: “No, we haven’t.”

In his letter to the committee’s chair, Mr Read said: “In relation to Post Office’s use of external communication agencies, as per your report’s footnotes, the exchange was, in our view, accurate – all of our current agencies have been contracted since well before the broadcast of Mr Bates vs Post Office, working across a number of different workstreams.”