Burnham heckled by crowd at Hillsborough ceremony

Hillsborough: Ministers call for document disclosure
Hillsborough: Ministers call for document disclosure

By politics.co.uk staff

Sports secretary Andy Burnham was heckled by parts of the crowd during a packed ceremony to commemorate the Hillsborough disaster at Anfield today.

Some attendees booed and shouted at the frontbencher as he told them he was there to represent the government and the prime minister.

The heckling came despite attempts by Mr Burnham to ensure full disclosure over the tragedy.

On the 20th anniversary of English football's worst tragedy, the sports minister and junior justice minister Maria Eagle asked the police, ambulance service, fire service, Sheffield city council and all other public authorities involved to disclose internal documents relating to the disaster.

Ms Eagle, MP for Liverpool Garston, has consistently accused authorities of attempting to cover up their part to play in the deaths of 96 men, women and children at the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest in 1989.

Chief constable of South Yorkshire Meredydd Hughes promised earlier this week to release all the files they held on the event except those which were subject to legal privilege.

The ministers welcomed this action but argued since all legal proceedings had been completed there is no reason to retain any documents and there should be full disclosure for the sake of the victims' families.

Mr Burnham said: "The Hillsborough families have suffered the immediate pain of the tragedy and the anguish afterwards of 20 years without a sense of proper resolution or closure.

"For the families, there are still unanswered questions."

He said for families to know all they could about the deaths of their loved ones it was vital we had transparency and all documents should be released.

A great deal of controversy remains, even two decades on, about the way in which the inquiry into the tragedy was conducted.

Ms Eagle has claimed police evidence given to Lord Justice Taylor which blamed supporters' misbehaviour for the event was part of a "conspiracy to cover up" their role.

Families also remain angry about coroner Dr Stefan Popper's decision to restrict the inquest only to events up to 3:15pm on the day as there remains a large question over the response of the emergency services.

"The 3.15pm cut-off was decided by the coroner, and upheld on judicial review, in a legal context the government cannot interfere with," said Ms Eagle.

"But if the authorities open up all the documentation, that can give the families themselves a chance to find out as much as possible about what happened to their loved ones."

A remembrance service for the victims was held at Liverpool's Anfield ground this afternoon with players - past and present - staff and supporters in attendance. Liverpool observed a two-minute silence which included the city's public transport system coming to a halt at 3:06pm, the time the game was abandoned, as a mark of respect.


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