Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, yesterday backed the campaign to get all documents relating to the 1989 disaster at Sheffield's Hillsborough stadium published.
Since Mr Clegg, a Sheffield MP, heads the Cabinet Office, the very government department which was opposing publication, his intervention suggests that the Government has now accepted the inevitable.
Although more than 22 years have passed since 96 Liverpool fans were killed in the crush, the issue is still raw, particularly on Merseyside. Nearly 130,000 people have signed an epetition on the Downing Street website demanding that all the relevant documents be made public, encouraged by Twitter messages from Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish and Newcastle United player Joey Barton.
When the Information Commissioner Christopher Graham ruled that the papers should be published, the Cabinet Office said it would appeal, on the grounds that it was for the Hillsborough Independent Panel set up last year to decide how much of the 45,000 boxes of material should be public. Yesterday the Government confirmed that as the epetition has attracted more than 100,000 signatures, it has been passed to the Commons Backbench Business committee with a view to having a Commons debate on it. A Cabinet Office spokeswoman added: "The Government is happy for all the papers to be released as soon as the Panel so decides."