New Westminster legislation to exonerate sub-postmasters caught up in the Horizon IT scandal will not apply in Scotland, the UK Government has said.

In a written ministerial statement on Thursday, Post Office minister Kevin Hollinrake said that because prosecutions north of the border were undertaken by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, it would be up to the Scottish Parliament to pass appropriate legislation.

READ MORE: Brian Wilson: Post Office Horizon victims deserve quick justice in Scotland

Humza Yousaf previously promised to clear the name of all those affected by the dodgy software in Scotland, saying that his preference would be to pass a Legislative Consent Motion to allow the UK Government's legal fix to apply north of the border.

However, Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain KC undermined that commitment, telling MSPs that there would be no quick solution and that it was “imperative that due process is followed.”

She said the “right process” for people to clear their names was through the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) and the High Court of Appeal.

Speaking at First Minister's Questions last month, Mr Yousaf did say that the Scottish Government was “already working on contingencies around separate Scottish legislation if that is required”.

More than 700 Post Office branch managers around the UK were prosecuted between 1999 and 2015, including around 60 in Scotland. 

The Herald: The Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain KC (right), with Solicitor General Ruth Charteris, arrives in the main chamber to deliver a statement on the Post Office Horizon IT scandal at the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood, Edinburgh. Picture date: Tuesday January

The faulty Horizon accounting software made it look as though money was missing from their shops.

It's thought that another 3,000 former Post Office workers across the UK could also be affected. Many  of them will have lost their jobs and incomes.

READ MORE: Sunak urged to help 'hidden victims' of Post Office scandal

In his written ministerial statement, Mr Hollinrake said the UK Government will quash convictions defined by “clear and objective criteria”.

He admitted that the legislation was likely to also clear the names of people “who were, in fact, guilty of a crime”.

But he said this was a “price worth paying” in order to quash convictions for many innocent people.

The minister said: “We are keen to ensure that the legislation achieves its goal of bringing prompt justice to all of those who were wrongfully convicted as a result of the scandal, followed by rapid financial redress.”

Scottish Conservative Shadow Justice Secretary Russell Findlay said: “The onus is now on Humza Yousaf to follow the lead of the UK Government’s fast-tracked legislation, so that Scottish victims of the Horizon scandal are not kept waiting any longer for justice than their counterparts in England and Wales.

“But the Lord Advocate’s apparent opposition to a blanket exoneration raises serious concerns that this won’t happen.

“There must be no further delay before these appalling miscarriages of justices are put right. That’s why we need clarity from the First Minister on what action his government will take next.”

Responding to the announcement, Justice Secretary Angela Constance made clear she was disappointed by the decision. The preference for ministers in Edinburgh was "UK-wide legislation to ensure there is a quick, fair and equal solution for all affected sub-postmasters."

She added: “We will introduce Scottish legislation if necessary but it is likely that would need to be after a UK Bill had passed to ensure full compatibility with UK legislation and the UK compensation scheme, in which the Scottish Government has no locus.

“Due to the reserved nature of some of the issues involved, there may be areas the Scottish Parliament cannot legislate on and we will be reliant on further UK legislation.

"This will introduce additional time and complexity.

"In addition, the Scottish Parliament has no powers to compel UK Ministers or the Post Office to provide evidence to Parliament.

“Our priority is to ensure full parity for everyone affected by this miscarriage of justice, which is why we will continue to strongly express that our preferred option is to use a Legislative Consent Motion to extend any UK Bill to cover Scotland.”