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Post Office scandal victim Jo Hamilton tells Brit Awards audience that government still hasn’t paid her yet

The 2024 Brit Awards ceremony kicked off with a surprise appearance from former postmistress Jo Hamilton who was impacted by the Horizon scandal.

The biggest night in British music took place on Saturday night (2 March)at the O2 Arena in London, where artists were honoured for their achievements this past year.

Dua Lipa, Rob Beckett, and Ellie Goulding were among the celebrities who made their way across the red carpet ahead of the star-studded ceremony, which was hosted by Love Island’s Maya Jama and Clara Amfo.

You can find a full list of winners here, and follow along with all the latest updates from the event at The Independent’s live-blog here.

The honour of presenting the first award of the night, for Best Song, was given to former postmistress Jo Hamilton and actor Monica Dolan, who played Hamilton in ITV’s Mr Bates vs The Post Office.

The pair were welcomed on stage by Amfo, who asked the audience to show their “love” to them both.

“I just want to thank everybody in the country literally for the love and support they’ve given the postmasters,” said Hamilton.

“Please could you keep on supporting us,” she continued. “Because in spite of what the government says, they are not paying the postmasters. Thank you.”

 (ITV)
(ITV)

Hamilton is one of hundreds of subpostmasters and postmistresses who were falsely convicted of offences including theft, false accounting, and fraud in the Post Office scandal.

More than 700 branch managers around the UK were prosecuted by the Post Office between 1999 and 2015 when the faulty Horizon accounting software led to false accusations of stolen money from their shops.

Their campaign for justice was thrust into the spotlight last year, with the series sparking public outrage.

Last week, Alan Bates – who was played by Toby Jones in the series, and who led the campaign for justice – told MPs that he can see “no end” to the scandal, as the government admitted that it was still failing to meet its own targets on payouts.

Bates, who previously rejected an initial “cruel” offer of compensation, said that the government should “get on and pay people”.

Alan Bates (Lucy North/PA Wire)
Alan Bates (Lucy North/PA Wire)

He added: “It’s very disappointing and this has been going on for years, as you well know, and I can’t see any end to it.”

Last week, it was also announced that hundreds of postmasters will have their names cleared under new legislation unveiled by the government.

The new law will come into effect by the end of July and follows prime minister Rishi Sunak’s announcement earlier this year that convictions would be quashed.

At the time, Post Office minister Kevin Hollinrake said the “unprecedented intervention” will “deliver long overdue justice to postmasters”.

On stage at the Brits, Dolan and Hamilton presented the award for Best Song to R&B artist RAYE for her track “Escapism” with 070 Shake.