Humza Yousaf has backed calls for the “mass exoneration” of the victims of the Horizon Post Office scandal – suggesting it is “very worthy of consideration”.

The First Minister has also backed calls for the former chief of the Post Office to be stripped of her CBE following the scandal.

Mr Yousaf was speaking after mass outrage at the scandal which led to more than 700 Post Office branch managers convicted after faulty accounting software, Horizon, made it look like money was missing from their shops.

The miscarriage of justice was highlighted in a television drama, which has led to politicians demanding actions, while ministers in charge at the time, including Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey have come under the spotlight for a lack of action.

The First Minister said: “It should not have taken a television drama to get the UK Government to decide to take action.

“The Scottish National Party has been asking for action in relation to Horizon and the injustice done to sub postmasters and sub postmistresses for many years.

“I think the idea of a mass exoneration is one that’s very worthy of consideration.”

He added that answers are needed from ministers in charge at the time ”including the leader of the Liberal Democrats” about the scandal.

Mr Yosuaf added: “We’ll seek to see what we can do to add pressure so that the victims in this terrible scandal are fully compensated and exonerated.”

He wouldn’t be drawn on whether contracts with the company behind the Horizon scandal, Fujitsu, will be terminated by the Scottish Government.

Instead the First Minister pointed to the “very specific procurement laws” in place that “embed fair work principles”.

Thousands of people have signed a petition calling for former Post Office boss Paula Vennells to be stripped of her CBE.

Mr Yousaf has now also called for that award to be called into question.

He said: “I think there are serious question marks around the continuation of that honour.

“I don’t think that immediately deals with the most problematic issue and most significant issue of injustice for Post Office sub postmasters and postmistresses.”

Downing Street has said Rishi Sunak would “strongly support” an honours committee if it chose to look into revoking Ms Vennells’ CBE in the wake of the Horizon scandal.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman on Monday said he would “strongly support” the Honours Forfeiture Committee if it decided to look at stripping the former Post Office chief executive of her honour.

There have long been calls for Ms Vennells, who ran the Post Office while it routinely denied there was a problem with its Horizon IT system, to lose her CBE.

Ms Vennells has previously said she is “truly sorry” for the “suffering” caused to subpostmasters wrongly convicted of offences.

Mr Sunak’s official spokesman said: “The Prime Minister shares the public’s feeling of outrage on this issue. He would strongly support the Forfeiture Committee if it chose to review the case.

“It is a decision for the committee, rather than the Government.”