ONTD Political

Concerning Freedom of Information, Press Accountability and Governmental transparency

12:37 am - 10/18/2011

May vows Hillsborough facts in full

Home Secretary Theresa May insisted the Government was committed to disclosing the full facts surrounding the 1989 Hillsborough stadium football disaster (in which 96 people lost their lives).

Addressing a sombre House of Commons, Mrs May said she was "sorry" for the anxiety caused to the victims of the families by the way the Government responded to a Freedom of Information (FoI) request seeking the release of official papers.

She said all government documents - including cabinet minutes - had now been handed over to the independent panel set up by the former Labour government to review the papers for public release.

Once the panel had completed its work, all the documents would be made public, she said, with only "minimal redactions" covering details such as the names of junior officials and private information relating to the victims.

"As Home Secretary, I will do everything in my power to ensure that the families and the public get the truth," she said.

"No government papers will be withheld from the panel, no attempts to suppress publication will be made, no stone will be left unturned. The principle underlying the process is that of maximum possible disclosure and disclosure to the families first and then to the wider public."

Ninety-six Liverpool football fans died in the crush as supporters tried to enter the Hillsborough stadium in Sheffield for an FA Cup semi-final on April 15 1989.

Mrs May was responding in the first debate in the Commons chamber to be triggered as a result of an e-petition on the Downing Street website collecting more than 100,000 signatures.

The petition - calling for the release all government-related papers concerning the disaster - was launched after the Cabinet Office turned down a request under the FoI Act for the documents to be made public.

Mrs May said: "The Government is not seeking to avoid publication of cabinet minutes or any other papers from Hillsborough. The cabinet papers on Hillsborough can be published, the Government will do nothing to prevent the panel publishing them, or indeed publishing whatever they so decide."

Call for Prime Minister to apologise over Hillsborough

The prime minister has been called on to apologise for failures surrounding the Hillsborough disaster.

MP Steve Rotheram, who opened a Commons debate on the release of papers relating to the tragedy, said there had been a campaign to blame fans.

Home Secretary Theresa May said the government supported the release of all documents, including Cabinet papers.

Ninety-six Liverpool fans died in the disaster at Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough stadium in April 1989.

The debate was sparked by 140,000 people signing an e-petition.

Mr Rotheram, whose Walton constituency includes Anfield, said David Cameron had apologised to the victims of Bloody Sunday and called on him to do the same for those affected by Hillsborough.

"I call on the prime minister to make a statement in this house and apologise for the mistakes that were made and the mishandling of this whole tragedy on behalf of a previous government," he said.

"It is claimed that truth is the first casualty of war, but the same can be said of Hillsborough.

"Misdirection, obfuscation and damned lies were all used as smokescreens to deflect attention away from the guilty.

"Institutional complacency and gross negligence, coupled with an establishment cover-up, have added to the sense that this was an orchestrated campaign to shift blame from those really responsible on to the shoulders of Liverpool fans."

Contextual links and info:
Hillsborough families call on the Sun to reveal sources of disaster story
Sun story HERE

Heartfelt parliamentary speeches by Steve Rotheram MP (Liverpool Walton),  Andy Burnham MP (Leigh) and the tail end of Alison McGovern MP (Wirral South)'s appeal.

Mods, this concerns an incident that is very locally political, but the issues raised by the investigation of the disaster are wholly universal. 
The parliamentary debate today is also one of the first examples of a debate brought about by the will of the people - 140,000 people signed the government e-petition to force the debate. Yay democracy in action!


siobhanc92 18th-Oct-2011 09:32 am (UTC)
I missed it, what did he say? :/

Very annoyed I missed it, fml.
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