Hillsborough tragedy to be heard in Parliament

A member of the public stops to reflect next to the Hillsborough Memorial at Anfield.
A member of the public stops to reflect next to the Hillsborough Memorial at Anfield.
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A PETITION calling on the Government to release all official documents relating to the Hillsborough disaster passed the 100,000 signature mark last night - enough to trigger a debate in Parliament.

Victims’ families believe the papers will reveal exactly what ministers – including then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher – knew about the tragedy in Sheffield in 1989, when 96 Liverpool fans were crushed to death.

The online petition gained momentum after attracting the support of celebrities on micro-blogging site Twitter, with footballers Michael Owen and Joey Barton, actor Simon Pegg and comedian Dara O’Briain among those backing the campaign.

The petition calls for publication of private Cabinet discussions about the disaster.

Information commissioner Christopher Graham has already ruled that the papers should be made public – but the Government said it would appeal the decision in order to allow the Hillsborough Independent Panel to oversee the disclosure of documents.

That decision has caused a huge amount of anger among the families, who believe the Government is trying to cover up what papers say about who failed to take appropriate actions when the tragedy began to unfold.

But now, according to the Government’s new e-petition rules, MPs must consider a public debate on the matter.

A Cabinet Office spokesman said: “The e-petition has now reached 100,000 signatures and the Government will notify the Backbench Business Committee in the House of Commons in order that the Committee can consider its suitability for debate when Parliament returns in September.

“The e-petition will remain live, and people will be able to continue adding their signatures. The Government will respond to those who have signed the e-petition in due course.”

The Twitter website last night was inundated with messages of congratulations.

Richard Buxton said: “Big achievement in Hillsborough petition reaching 100,000 signatures. Just a case of whether the powers that be listen to calls for justice.”

Johnmc72 said: “Every Hillsborough family should know the circumstances of the death of their own loved one(s) and how could it have been avoided.”

n Go to #Hillsborough on

www.twitter.com