PM apologises for Hillsborough injustice.
Prime Minister David Cameron says he is profoundly sorry for the “double injustice” of the Hillsborough disaster, after previously unseen documents on the tragedy were made public.
Ninety-six Liverpool fans died after a crush at Sheffield Wednesday’s stadium on 15 April 1989, ahead of an FA Cup semi-final replay between the Reds and Nottingham Forest.
Speaking after an independent report into previously unseen documentation, Mr Cameron shocked the House of Commons by admitting that the police had tried to blame fans for the disaster and “impugn the reputations of the deceased” by deflecting the blame.
The Prime Minister also reiterated that the report by the Hillsborough Independent Panel highlighted the well-know “deficiencies” in safety-standards at the the ground, and he conceded that a swifter response from the emergencies services could have saved lives.
Mr Cameron added that the safety of the crowds at Hillsborough had been “compromised at every level”.
“With the weight of the new evidence in this report, it is right for me today as prime minister to make a proper apology to the families of the 96 for all they have suffered over the past 23 years,” Mr Cameron told the Commons.
“On behalf of the government – and indeed our country – I am profoundly sorry for this double injustice that has been left uncorrected for so long,” he added.
Details of the report were shown to families of the victims first, although the Prime Minister was given a copy in order to make today’s statement.
Mr Cameron said the apology was for the “double injustice”, which was both in the “failure of the state to protect their loved ones and the indefensible wait to get to the truth”, and in the efforts to denigrate the deceased and suggest that they were “somehow at fault for their own deaths”.
He said details of the report were “deeply distressing” but said it showed the Liverpool fans “were not the cause of the disaster”.
Mr Cameron’s speech criticised The Sun newspaper for its coverage of the aftermath of the disaster and the former editor, Kelvin MacKenzie, issued an apology to the people of Liverpool.
The report showed that up to 41 of the 96 could have been saved and will lead to stern questions for the authorities after it revealed 164 statements were “significantly amended” and 116 “removed negative comments” about policing operation.
Sheffield Wednesday also issued an apology on to all the families whose relatives were involved.
The club said on its website: “Throughout the compilation stage, the club has worked closely with the panel and the other donating organisations to ensure that, in line with the ethos of maximum disclosure, we have been totally transparent.
“The club would like to offer our sincere condolences and an apology to all the families who have suffered as a consequence of the tragic events of 15 April 1989.”
The panel scrutinised nearly 400,000 documents over 18 months to compile the report.
The victims families have been campaigning for the past 20 years for the papers to be released and the government finally conceded to pressure after 140,000 people signed a e-petition set up by Liverpool fans.
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