Following the Prime Minster’s statement to Parliament yesterday I asked him the following:
This is the day when the 23-year-old campaign led by the bereaved, the traumatised and the injured was vindicated. I pay tribute to the work of the Bishop of Liverpool and his panel in demonstrating so conclusively what had been suspected for so long—that there had been a major and systematic cover-up. Can the Prime Minister give us an absolute assurance that in the three key areas—who was responsible for what happened, whether sufficient lives were saved, and the critical issue of the inquest—he will keep Parliament informed about progress that can be made so that those who were bereaved and those who remain traumatised will at least start to feel that they are at the beginnings of receiving some kind of justice?
I can certainly give the hon. Lady that assurance. I think that the panel has done an excellent job, but, to be fair to it, it is not a coroner. Only the coroner can carry out a proper inquest. As I have said, there is very important evidence here for the Attorney-General to consider and to put in front of the High Court, but the panel cannot reach those judgments. Paragraph 60 says:
“It is not possible to establish whether a more effective emergency response would have saved the life of any one individual who died.”
But it then goes on to say, as I quoted in my statement, that
“a swifter, more appropriate, better focused and properly equipped response had the potential to save more lives.”
In the end, you need the precision of coroners’ reports to go into that sort of level of detail, but I think that the panel has done an extremely good job with what it had.
More to follow…