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David Cameron asked for Hillsborough comments apology

Category: England

Published: 26th Oct 2011 16:47:24

Prime Minister David Cameron has been urged to apologise for remarks made about relatives of those killed in the Hillsborough disaster.

Mr Cameron was quoted saying bereaved families pressing for more details about the 1989 tragedy were hoping to find something which did not exist.

Luciana Berger, Labour MP for Liverpool Wavertree, called for the apology during Prime Minister's Questions.

Mr Cameron said the government was helping the relatives "find closure".

Ninety-six Liverpool football fans died as a result of the tragedy at the 1989 FA Cup Semi Final in Sheffield.

Ms Berger, speaking in the Commons, said to Cameron: "Yesterday it was reported you compared the families of those who died at Hillsborough to a blind man in dark room looking for a black cat that isn't there, and claimed you weren't getting enough credit for the release of government papers relating to the tragedy.

"Will you take this opportunity to apologise to the relatives and friends of the 96 victims for these grossly offensive comments?"

Mr Cameron responded: "It is this government that has done the right thing by opening up the Cabinet papers and trying to help those people find the closure they seek."

The Prime Minister was quoted making the comments in an interview with the Liverpool Daily Post.

He told the newspaper he doubted if the Hillsborough families would find closure even when they saw the full documents.

A No 10 Downing Street spokesman later explained that Mr Cameron was "expressing his sympathy for how difficult it is for people to find closure and come to terms with their grief" and was "working to get the cabinet papers on Hillsborough released".

Labour's Alison McGovern, MP for Wirral South, also called on Mr Cameron to encourage South Yorkshire Police - the force responsible for crowd control at Hillsborough stadium - to release its documents.

She called for the independent panel reviewing the tragedy to have "unredacted access to all papers".

Mr Cameron said: "I'm not fully aware of the situation with regards to the police papers so I don't want to give a flippant answer across the despatch box.

"The government has done what it should in terms of the Cabinet papers, but I'm very happy to look at what you raise and come back to you."

Last week ministers agreed to release papers of detailed discussions by then prime minister Margaret Thatcher's Cabinet in the aftermath of the disaster.

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BBC News, 2011. David Cameron asked for Hillsborough comments apology [Online] (Updated 26th Oct 2011)
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