Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 30 September 2014

MPs back Hillsborough disclosure

Ninety-six Liverpool football fans died in the 1989 disaster

The Government has vowed to release all documents relating to the Hillsborough disaster after MPs backed a motion calling for full disclosure.

Home Secretary Theresa May insisted that all the material will be made public with only select details held back.

After an emotionally charged debate in the House of Commons, triggered by an online petition signed by 140,000 people, the motion tabled by backbench MPs was approved unopposed.

Addressing a sombre House of Commons, Mrs May said she was "sorry" for the anxiety caused to relatives of the victims by the Government's initial refusal to release papers.

She said all government documents - including Cabinet minutes - would be 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.

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

Mrs May acknowledged that the way the Government had handled the request had caused distress among the victims' families.

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