MPs give backing for full Hillsborough disclosure
Relatives of 96 Liverpool fans who died in the UK's worst football disaster 22 years ago are a step closer to finding out why they were targeted in a campaign of vilification instead of receiving sympathy from the authorities.
The relatives' long campaign to find out what happened in the days that followed the tragedy at the Hillsborough Stadium, in Sheffield, on 15 April 1989 achieved a political breakthrough when MPs were told all the documents relating to the tragedy are to be released.
It was the first time that a debate had been held in the Commons in response to an e-petition. Nearly 140,000 people backed a petition on the Downing Street website calling for the release of all the relevant documents.
The lingering anger about the tragedy was intensified by rumours spread afterwards which blamed the deaths on yobbish behaviour by the fans. This was reported in several newspapers, most notably in The Sun, which ran the rumours under the headline "The Truth". But they were dismissed outright in the official report by a High Court judge, Lord Taylor, which squarely blamed mistakes by the police. It has never been established who was behind the rumours. Trevor Hicks, president of the Hillsborough Families Support Group, who lost two teenage daughters on that day, said he believed a political decision was made on the Sunday morning afterwards, when Margaret Thatcher met South Yorkshire Police to attribute blame to the Liverpool fans because it fit the government's law-and-order agenda. "We believe that was the start of the attempt to slide responsibility on to the fans," he told a Westminster press conference.
Steve Rotheram, Labour MP for Liverpool Walton, who survived the tragedy, told MPs yesterday that the fans were subjected to "a co-ordinated campaign to shift the blame", which he attributed to "cowardice and deceit of the highest order" on the part of "those desperate to save their own skins".
Theresa May, the Home Secretary, promised that no relevant government documents will be kept secret and apologised to the families that the Government's response to a BBC request for publication of the documents had caused distress in Merseyside.
Some 300,000 documents will be passed to the Hillsborough Independent Panel, which is likely to publish its findings in 2012.
Latest in Sport
What time does Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao begin and what channel is it on?
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao live: Mayweather puts on defensive masterclass to win by unanimous decision
What time does Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao begin on Sky Sports Box Office?
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao: What time does the fight start and what channel is it on?
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao: Only 132 pubs in the United Kingdom will show the fight - so where can you watch it?
- 1 Which country would be hardest to invade?
- 2 The man who filmed the Freddie Gray video has been arrested at gunpoint
- 3 Royal baby girl born: Duchess of Cambridge's second child will be a princess thanks to Queen
- 5 Teen suffers embarrassing wardrobe malfunction in front of deputy PM
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
Indonesia executions live: 'Hysterical' families heard prisoners being shot dead by firing squad
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: SNP and its activists 'openly racist' towards the English, Farage says
EU exit would hit UK economy much harder than neighbouring countries, study finds