Disaster families welcome ruling

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FAMILIES of the victims of the Hillsborough disaster today welcomed a government statement announcing it is ‘happy’ for all documents relating to the tragedy to be released.

Until now, ministers have failed to officially support calls for all the reports about the 1989 Sheffield tragedy in which 96 Liverpool fans died to be made public.

The Government was considering whether to release Cabinet papers should the Hillsborough Independent Panel ask it to as this would be a highly unusual step ahead of the 30-year rule.

But after an online petition gained 100,000 signatories, ministers have said they will sanction the release of all documents the panel believe should be made public.

The news was welcomed by Margaret Aspinall, chair of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, who said she was happy with the progress being made and the decision to share findings with the families first.

She also thanked the public for signing the petition.

It is understood the panel may put forward its recommendations on which papers should be released as early as the spring of next year.

A Cabinet Office spokesman said: “The Government has confirmed its commitment to full transparency about the Hillsborough disaster through full public disclosure.

“All papers had previously been shared with the Hillsborough Independent Panel. The Government is happy for all the papers to be released as soon as the panel so decides, in consultation with the families.

“We expect them to be shared with the Hillsborough families first and then to the wider public.”

A spokesman said it would still appeal against the ruling of the Information Commissioner that the papers should now be made public as it said it wanted them to be released in an ordered way to the families first before the media.

By reaching 100,000 signatories, the petition automatically sparked a parliamentary debate.