Hillsborough chairman set to retire in summer

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THE man who chaired the independent panel set up to oversee the full disclosure of all files held on the Hillsborough disaster is set to retire.

The Bishop of Liverpool has announced he is to retire on his 65th birthday in August.

As chairman of the Hillsborough Independent Panel, the Right Reverend James Jones played an instrumental role in establishing Liverpool fans were not to blame for the disaster at Sheffield Wednesday’s football stadium, which claimed the lives of 96 football fans in 1989.

In a report published in September, the panel revealed a cover-up to shift blame on to the victims after the tragedy. A series of reviews are under way looking into the actions of police officers.

Mr Jones, who will remain as adviser to the Home Secretary on Hillsborough after he retires, said: “It has been a privilege as Bishop to serve the wider community, not least in chairing the Hillsborough Independent Panel.

“The diocese has recognised the rightness of me doing this which has given me great strength.

“The way the families and survivors have received the panel’s report and the way truth is now opening up the path to justice affirms the worth of the panel’s work.”

After the Independent Hillsborough Panel’s report was published, Bishop Jones revealed he had fought to keep the funding for it when the coalition Government came into power in 2010.

He also said throughout its work examining 450,000 pages of previously unseen documents, he kept a photo on his desk of the stadium at 2.59pm on the day of the disaster and the names of the 96 who died.