96 people died as a result of the disaster at Hillsborough football ground when Liverpool played Nottingham Forest in the FA Semi Final on April 15 1989. The Taylor Report, set up after the disaster, found that the major cause was police failure on the day. Police briefings blamed the victims. No one has been brought to account.
Following the online petition of nearly 140,000 signatures, on Monday (17 October) many MPs debated full disclosure of the Government documents relating to the Hillsborough disaster. Many people and families of victims of the disaster travelled to London to watch the debate from the viewing gallery in Parliament.
The motion was tabled by Steve Rotheram MP for Liverpool Walton who called for the Prime Minister to make a formal apology for the mistakes that were made and for release of all documents held by the Government. MPs spoke with passion and conviction on the issue and called for truth and justice.
The debate was a crucial step to secure the release of important information relating to the disaster. I called for truth and justice. Facts have been deliberately distorted and grotesque untruths have been promulgated about the tragedy. In 2009 our government set up an independent panel, chaired by the Bishop of Liverpool, with access to documents relating to the disaster. I called for full disclosure and for the Government not to attempt to prevent the publication of anything that the panel and the families want to be disclosed.
Home Secretary Theresa May MP who spoke for the Government clarified that no Government papers would be withheld and no attempts to suppress publication will be made. The Government will release all the documents relating to Hillsborough to the Independent Panel. The Independent Panel will then decide, with the affected families if any personal information will be redacted before documents are available to the wider public.
Congratulations to Steve Rotheram for securing the debate and leading it in such an impressive way.
You can read a copy of my speech following the link below: