Page last updated at 21:37 GMT, Monday, 17 October 2011 22:37 UK

MPs call for Hillsborough papers release

The House of Commons has united in support of the release of all papers relating to the Hillsborough tragedy.

MPs agreed without a vote a backbench motion calling for the full, uncensored disclosure of government-related documents concerning the disaster 22 years ago.

Ninety-five Liverpool supporters were killed in a crush of fans at Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough stadium on 15 April 1989. The 96th victim died two years later.

Opening the Commons debate on 17 October 2011, Labour's Steve Rotherham, a former lord mayor of Liverpool, urged Prime Minister David Cameron to apologise for the failures surrounding the tragedy.

He attacked the "smears" and "establishment cover-up" which led to fans initially being blamed for the incident, and told MPs that the issue would not go away until there was "justice for the 96" who died in the crush.

As campaigners watched from the public gallery in the House of Commons, Mr Rotherham read out the names of the dead. When he had finished, MPs applauded him - a rare occurrence in the chamber.

Home Secretary Theresa May said the government fully supported the release of all documents, including cabinet papers, which she said should be shown to the families first through the Hillsborough Independent Panel, and then to the public.

She added: "No government papers will be withheld from the panel, no attempts to suppress publication will be made, no stone left unturned."

Mrs May said there may be some redactions, but stressed that any decision to remove details would be a matter for the independent panel.

She also apologised for any anxiety caused by the decision to oppose a BBC reporter's freedom of information request to release the files.

Speaking for the opposition, Liverpudlian MP Andy Burnham said the disaster and the events that followed it were "one of the biggest injustices of the 20th century".

He revealed his own "private disappointments" that more had not been done to reveal the truth under the previous Labour government, but he said it was a "huge moment" to see the House unite behind the release of the papers.

The Commons debate was triggered by an e-petition demanding the full release of documents relating to the 1989 disaster. The petition gathered the support of more than 100,000 people - the threshold for consideration for a debate in the Commons.


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