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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore