Hillsborough tragedy campaigner turns down New Year's Honour

Phil Scraton
Phil Scraton
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A Hillsborough campaigner and academic has turned down an OBE in the Queen's New Year Honours list in protest against those who failed to help survivors of the disaster and the bereaved families

Professor Phil Scraton, who led the Hillsborough Independent Panel's research team, refused the honour in protest 'at those who remained unresponsive' to efforts for truth and justice after the tragedy.

An inquest jury concluded in April that the 96 who died in the crush at Hillsborough Stadium on April 15 1989 were unlawfully killed.

Prof Scraton's book, Hillsborough: The Truth, is regarded as a definitive account of the disaster and he was given the freedom of the city of Liverpool for his work.

In a statement reported by the BBC, he said: "I researched Hillsborough from 1989, publishing reports, articles and the first edition of Hillsborough: The Truth in 1990.

"Until 2009, and despite compelling evidence, successive governments declined to pursue a thorough independent review of the context, consequences and aftermath of the disaster.

"This changed as a direct result of the families' and survivors' brave, persistent campaign.

"It led to the Hillsborough Independent Panel, its ground-breaking findings, new inquests and their crucially significant verdicts."

He added: "I headed the panel's research team and was a consultant to the families' lawyers throughout the new inquests.

"I could not receive an honour on the recommendation of those who remained unresponsive to the determined efforts of bereaved families and survivors to secure truth and justice."

Prof Scraton said he appreciated his decision "might come as a disappointment to some Hillsborough families, survivors and whoever nominated me", the BBC said.

But he added: "I could not accept an honour tied in name to the 'British Empire'.

"In my scholarship and teaching I remain a strong critic of the historical, cultural and political contexts of imperialism and their international legacy."