12 Sept 2012

An "appalling failure of the state" - PM's Hillsborough apology in full

The Prime Minister, David Cameron, has apologised to the families of grieving families of the 96 Liverpool fans who died in the Hillsborough disaster, and confirmed that there was/is no evidence to support of allegations of "exceptional levels of drunkenness, ticketlessness or violence among Liverpool fans".

Below is Cameron's full statement, in which he also (predictably) absolves all post-1989 Governments of complicity in the cover up:


"Today the Bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Reverend James Jones, is publishing the report of the Hillsborough Independent Panel. The disaster at the Hillsborough football stadium on 15th April 1989 was one of the greatest peacetime tragedies of the last century.

96 people died as a result of a crush in the Leppings Lane Terrace at the FA Cup Semi-Final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest.There was a public Inquiry at the time by Lord Justice Taylor which found - and I quote - that the main cause of the disaster was "a failure of police control".

But the Inquiry didn't have access to all the documents that have since become available, it didn't properly examine the response of the emergency services, it was followed by a deeply controversial inquest, and by a media version of events that sought to blame the fans.

As a result, the families have not heard the truth and have not found justice. That is why the previous government - and in particular - the Rt Hon Member for Leigh was right to set up this Panel. And it is why this government insisted that no stone should be left unturned and that all papers should be made available to the Bishop of Liverpool and his team.

Mr Speaker, in total over 450,000 pages of evidence have been reviewed. It was right that the families should see the Report first. As a result the government has only had a very limited amount of time to study the evidence so far. But it is already very clear that many of the report's findings are deeply distressing. There are three areas in particular.

* The failure of the authorities to help protect people.
* The attempt to blame the fans.
* The doubt cast on the original Coroner's Inquest.

Let me take each in turn.


First, there is new evidence about how the authorities failed. There is a trail of new documents which show the extent to which the safety of the crowd at Hillsborough was "compromised at every level".

* The ground failed to meet minimum standards
* The "deficiencies were well known".
* The turnstiles were inadequate.
* The ground capacity had been significantly over-calculated.
* The crush barriers failed to meet safety standards.
* There had been a crush at exactly the same match the year before.

Today's report shows clearly that lessons had not been learnt. The report backs up again the key finding of the Taylor Report on police failure. But it goes further by revealing for the first time the shortcomings of the ambulance and emergency services response:

The major incident plan was not fully implemented. Rescue attempts were held back by failures of leadership/co-ordination. And, significantly, new documents today show there was a delay from the emergency services when people were being crushed and killed.


Second, the families have long believed that some of the authorities attempted to create a completely unjust account of events that sought to blame the fans for what happened. Mr Speaker, the families were right.

The evidence in today's report includes briefings to the media, and attempts by the Police to change the record of events. On the media. Several newspapers reported false allegations that fans were drunk and violent and stole from the dead.

The S*n's report sensationalised these allegations under a banner headline "The Truth." This was clearly wrong and caused huge offence, distress and hurt.

News International has co-operated with the Panel and, for the first time, today's report reveals that the source for these despicable untruths was a Sheffield news agency reporting conversations with South Yorkshire Police and Irvine Patnick, the then MP for Sheffield Hallam.

The Report finds that this was part of police efforts - and I quote - "to develop and publicise a version of events that focused on - allegations of drunkenness, ticketlessness and violence."

In terms of changing the record of events, we already know that police reports were significantly altered but the full extent was not drawn to Lord Justice Taylor's attention.

Today's Report finds that 164 statements were significantly amended - and 116 explicitly removed negative comments about the policing operation - including its lack of leadership. The report also makes important findings about particular actions taken by the police and coroner while investigating the deaths.

There is new evidence which shows that police officers carried out police national computer checks on those who had died in an attempt - and I quote from the report - "to impugn the reputations of the deceased".

The Coroner took blood alcohol levels from all of the deceased including children. The Panel finds no rationale whatsoever for what it regards as an "exceptional" decision.

The report states clearly that the attempt of the inquest to draw a link between blood alcohol and late arrival was "fundamentally flawed". And that alcohol consumption was "unremarkable and not exceptional for a social or leisure occasion".

Mr Speaker, over all these years questions have been raised about the role of the government - including whether it did enough to uncover the truth. It is certainly true that some of the language in the government papers published today was insensitive.

But having been through every document - and every government document including Cabinet Minutes will be published - the Panel found no evidence of any government trying to conceal the truth.

At the time of the Taylor Report the then Prime Minister was briefed by her private secretary that the defensive and - I quote - "close to deceitful" behaviour of senior South Yorkshire officers was "depressingly familiar."

And it is clear that the then government thought it right that the Chief Constable of South Yorkshire should resign. But as the Rt Hon Member for Leigh has rightly highlighted, governments then and since have simply not done enough to challenge publicly the unjust and untrue narrative that sought to blame the fans.


Third, and perhaps most significantly of all, the Bishop of Liverpool's report presents new evidence which casts significant doubt over the adequacy of the original Inquest. The Coroner - on the advice of pathologists - believed that victims suffered traumatic asphyxia leading to unconsciousness within seconds and death within a few minutes.

As a result he asserted that beyond 3.15pm there were no actions that could have changed the fate of the victims and he limited the scope of the Inquest accordingly. But by analysing post mortem reports the Panel have found that 28 did not have obstruction of blood circulation and 31 had evidence of heart and lungs continuing to function after the crush.

This means that individuals in those groups could have had potentially reversible asphyxia beyond 3.15pm in contrast to the findings of the Coroner and a subsequent Judicial Review. And the Panel states clearly that "it is highly likely that what happened to those individuals after 3.15pm was significant" in determining whether they died.


Mr Speaker, the conclusions of this report will be harrowing for many of the families affected. Anyone who has lost a child knows the pain never leaves you. But to read a report years afterwards that says - and I quote, "a swifter, more appropriate, better focused and properly equipped response had the potential to save more lives", can only add to the pain

It is for the Attorney General to decide whether to apply to the High Court to quash the original inquest and seek a new one. In this capacity he acts independently of government. And he will need to examine the evidence himself. But it is clear to me that the new evidence in today's report raises vital questions which must be examined.

And the Attorney General has assured me that he will examine this new evidence immediately and reach a decision as fast as possible. But ultimately it is for the High Court to decide. It is also right that the House should have an opportunity to debate the issues raised in this report fully.

My Rt Hon Friend the Home Secretary will be taking forward a debate in Government time. And this will happen when the House returns in October.


Mr Speaker, I want to be very clear about the view the government takes about these findings and why after 23 years this matters so much, not just for the families but for Liverpool and for our country as a whole.

Mr Speaker what happened that day - and since - was wrong. It was wrong that the responsible authorities knew Hillsborough did not meet minimum safety standards and yet still allowed the match to go ahead. It was wrong that the families have had to wait for so long - and fight so hard - just to get to the truth. And it was wrong that the police changed the records of what happened and tried to blame the fans.

We ask the police to do difficult and often very dangerous things on our behalf. And South Yorkshire Police is a very different organisation today from what it was then. But we do the many, many honourable police men and women a great disservice if we try to defend the indefensible.

It was also wrong that neither Lord Justice Taylor nor the Coroner looked properly at the response of the other emergency services. Again, these are dedicated people who do extraordinary things to serve the public. But the evidence from today's report makes very difficult reading.

Mr Speaker, with the weight of the new evidence in this Report, it is right for me today as Prime Minister to make a proper apology to the families of the 96 for all they have suffered over the past 23 years.

Indeed, the new evidence that we are presented with today makes clear that these families have suffered a double injustice. The injustice of the appalling events - the failure of the state to protect their loved ones and the indefensible wait to get to the truth. And the injustice of the denigration of the deceased - that they were somehow at fault for their own deaths.

On behalf of the Government - and indeed our country - I am profoundly sorry for this double injustice that has been left uncorrected for so long. Mr Speaker, because of what I have described as the second injustice - the false version of events - not enough people in this country understand what the people of Merseyside have been through.

This appalling death toll of so many loved ones lost was compounded by an attempt to blame the victims. A narrative about hooliganism on that day was created which led many in the country to accept that it was somehow a grey area. Today's report is black and white. The Liverpool fans "were not the cause of the disaster".

The Panel has quite simply found "no evidence" in support of allegations of "exceptional levels of drunkenness, ticketlessness or violence among Liverpool fans", "no evidence that fans had conspired to arrive late at the stadium" and "no evidence that they stole from the dead and dying."

Mr Speaker, I'm sure the whole House will want to thank the Bishop of Liverpool and his Panel for all the work they have done. And I am sure that all sides will join with me in paying tribute to the incredible strength and dignity of the Hillsborough families and the community which has backed them in their long search for justice.

While nothing can ever bring back those who have been lost with all the documents revealed and nothing held back the families, at last, have access to the truth".

Jaimie Kanwar


  1. at last someone said sorry

  2. It's out there now. In black and white.

    No more lies. No more innuendo. No more smear campaigns.

    Read it and weep.

    JFT 96

  3. I bloody hope the BBC and other media outlets do not invite Kelvin Mackenzie for even non-Hillsborough stuff ever again, unless it is a platform for him to be criticized for his behavior then and since then as well as a proper apology from that odious character. Makes my blood boil seeing him get invited on Question Time again, again and again for his so-called bloody insight. The man simply refuses to take responsibility properly and behaved unprofessionally over the matter yet some media outlets take him on as a expert on a wide variety of things. I'm glad with what has happened to the today but certain individuals/parts of the media like Mackenzie still need to face up to their behavior properly over this disaster.

  4. Kelvin McKenzie must be arrested and prosecuted!!!!...............JFT96

  5. Kelvin McKenzie needs to stand TRIAL in the light of what we know about Murdochs PHONE HACKING and McKenzie's evidence to the Levenson enquiry it's clear he LIED.


    The THATCHER Government KNEW THIS and the depth of corruption was probably based on the fact that Liverpool traditionally has always been staunch Labour.


  6. South Yorkshire police, abulance service The FA and Sheff Wed you murdering b***ards

  7. Gano1 you beat me to it ....A Warrant for McKenzie must be issued immediately, based on this report and the fact it conflicts with what he said at Levinson Enquiry

  8. When the 'News of the World' closed, I stupidly thought the S*n would follow. How naiive am I? All they did was let the storm blow over then start the 'Sunday S*n'.
    It's the same fncking paper, and all they care about is money!!!!

    If the politicians REALLY want to make a difference, they would close Wapping down, and bring McKenzie and Murdoch to book.

  9. Especially when 41 could have been saved. Fact.

  10. This isn't justice. This is acknowledgement. Justice is a lot of the fuckers responsible for this atrocity in jail.

  11. Justice at last for the 96. hope this stops some of the hurtful chanting.

  12. It's exoneration for people who were there. People like me who thought maybe, just maybe we could have done something different and it would not have happened. A nagging doubt that we may be wrong......
    A nagging out that when we argued with workmates 'til we were blue in the face, 'til we had to walk away for fear of losing it, that we were mistaken......
    Talking shit.....

    And for people who have banged their heads against a wall for 23 years when nobody would listen. They have to listen now.

    Because the world knows.

  13. Finally....some sort of acknowledgement of the untruths surrounding this terrible and tragic episode and more importantly an "official" apology, i just want to applaud all those individuals including the very impressive Steve Rotheram for all their hard work in presenting the facts and fighting against the odd's to clear the names of the departed and bring justice to those family members and friends who have had to endure such disgusting slander whilst trying to overcome the loss of their loved one's.

    As for those people who helped to create and maintain all these untruths which no doubt have brought much unwarranted suffering to so many.... all i can say is now is the time to hang your heads in shame..... your crimes shall haunt you.... your lies shall follow you all the way to the grave and beyond.....now is the time for YOUR judgement...

    RIP to those departed....YNWA.

  14. hope the bereaved can finally get some peace in the fact that some justice as been done and somebody should take the fall for over 20years of lies

  15. Sue the sun and close them down. No more boycotts. just close them down.

  16. The only form of justice after 23 years is compensation for failure to safeguard the paying supporters at the stadium.

  17. I'd love to say it will, but I can't see it pal.
    Thanks all the same.

  18. As well as South Yorks, some serious investigation should be done into the conduct of the West Mids Police.
    I lived (and still do) in the Midlands, and gave a local address in the immediate aftermath to a copper in the Upper Leppings Lane along with a statement. I expected to be contacted as soon as I heard the 'locals' would be investigating, if only to confirm my statement.


    Not a surprise really, considering the Birmingham Six, and the abolition of the Serious Crime Squad due to corruption.

    Through my work I have actually done a few jobs with the West Mids Police, and at every opportunity left them HJC campaign stickers whether they wanted them or not!!!

  19. hope you find comfort on this joyous day

  20. totally agree but lets just enjoy today for now

  21. Today more than any other day I feel closer to all my fellow reds fans both here and round the world. I feel closer to the club knowing that the truth has finally come out. Liverpool Football Club is and always will be more than just a football club and those who have been to the city of Liverpool and Anfield will testify to this. This feels like at last the family at LFC can finally begin the process of justice. Today we Walk On together as one. We forget the petty arguments and differences we share on this great club and unite as one. Together we will never forget the 96 and will forever honour them. Every single one of you - here and passed on will NEVER WALK ALONE...

  22. I actually feel really sad and empty.

    And very angry.

    But there are a lot worse off than me. I just happened to be there. Others were horrifically injured (mentally and physically) or worse.

    Cheers John.

  23. Justice. Now to prosecute the guilty.

  24. Kelvin Mackenzie has issued a apology today but the way he acted over this disaster then and since then, makes it hard to move on, in regards to the hostility that i feel towards Mackenzie.

  25. this was a great day and it was great to see KD come out in support. no matter what people may think he is the king and should never be disrespected, some things are bigger than football. Attending every single persons funeral who died on that tragic day was testement to him and his dedication to the families.

  26. the BITCH is very quite today!!come on thatcher say something . the head of the cover up and the lies

  27. was there in 88 .moved into the side pen it didnt feel right behind the goal .a 24000 kop at one end given to forest average gate 22000, madness!!! syp made that decision . a ground with no saftey cert. the FA made that decision ! the list goes on and on .our 23 year wait is now over. now for some PAYBACK for our 96 brothers and sisters . RIP THE 96 YNWA

  28. and remand the cunt in walton nick

  29. and remand him in walton

  30. Well done to all the people who just kept going didn't lie down , didn't go away , kept asking questions , kept asking for the truth to be told . So proud and pleased you never gave up , YOU DID IT . YOU GOT THE TRUTH , we are so proud of you all

  31. I just read his full apology and there are parts where he appears genuinely regretful but it really didn't go far enough, instead of just blaming his sources (who he apparently "trusted" well enough to ride gung ho into what was clearly a devastating and appalling tragedy....) he should have expressed fully his OWN regret/remorse in sensationalising his rather twisted view of certain aspects of it with headlines that would give voice to the many bigoted and hateful fans from other clubs to heap even more misery/suffering on Liverpool fans, many of which would have had loved one's close friends etc whose lives were lost in this tragedy.

    Words just cannot describe how heinous his attitude has been throughout this long period of time since it happened and only now he coughs up a little apology for "getting it wrong"...oh dear, he was lied to....but he could have chose to be a little more considerate in his reporting....a little more sensitive re those who had died and those who they had left behind....for me the bugger actually enjoyed putting it out there, it just fitted into his rather bigoted and resentful view of scousers, period.

    Kelvin it seems was just a pawn in a game, a game which would cast a big dark foreboding cloud over the Club and the City of Liverpool for many years to come.

    Today is a historic day in our quest for justice but it is a very shameful day for all those connected to this abhorant cover up...

  32. Mckenzie should be done for libel and defamation of character for printing what he did and pay compensation to all the families of the dead.

  33. brought back bad memories today. i fought my way through the turnstile( just) at around 14.45. the stewards stood around, i asked one to show me where to go, he shrugged his shoulders. no one cared, just followed the crowd. i am fortunate to come away. why me? who knows? god bless those who were not.

  34. We all have the same nagging guilt, mate, that we are still here.

    I was offered a ticket on the Tuesday night (a fella with some spares came on our coach before the Millwall game). My mate Gaz bought one, I didn't. Everyone said I was barmy. It was a Semi ticket FFS, but I turned one down. I wanted a seat. I was determined to sit.

    The Friday night I got a ticket in the Leppings Lane Stand. And I KNOW that if I had bought that terrace ticket I wouldn't have got out. Gaz got pulled up into the seats above - he just appeared in front of me. But he still says the only reason he got out was because he used to go to the gym.

    But there is no way I could have fought my way out of there. And I know that.

  35. like many of those who were in on the cover up, they are no longer able to to have what is/was due to them. thatcher is a decrepit, old woman, riddled with dimentia. duckenfield is dead. they will never have to face up to their actions, with regards to their disgusting manipulation of events. thatcher was a modern day female hitler, who cleansed communities all over the country. she knew the truth, but didn't they all? the c*nts. hate them,hate them all.

  36. incredible. they said we couldn't have the kop as we travelled in from a different direction!!! we had no problems with the forest lads,even with our rivalry. we all watched saint & grevesie together in a pub down the way. great banter, great spirits between us both. the only problems we had were the year before (88), where some crushing occurred, but in general, we had to show our tickets before we got to the ground.

  37. A momentous day.

    Shame there weren't more comments. Funny how we sometimes get 3 pages full slagging off Kenny or Suarez but on a day like today everyone seemed quite reticent.

    Night all.

  38. agreed it's only sc*mbags that involve themselves in that sh*t. my moniker may be a contradiction to some people, however, it relates to footballing matters only.....afterall, your great manager, sir matt,learned everything he knew at our place!!!!!

  39. my two mates wanted to sit as it was a special occasion. i argued that we never sat, you didn't do it in those days, behind the goal or nowhere. they got seats, i stuck to my guns. no one, stewards/police gave a sh*t inside the ground, it was a shambles, no direction, that dark tunnel haunts me.each man for himself, how selfish was that? i have had to endure people at work and earlier in the pubs, still disbelieving the truth. ignorant bastards. my workmates don't know i was there, i don't use it as some badge of honour and i have kept my gob shut. only once i nearly snapped, but you can't teach ignorant fools, can you?

  40. well said, quite right.

  41. sorry jim, they own the government.

  42. like in 85 and 89 both grounds were shit tips .peter robinson no one listen to you and by god you were proved right . rip the 96 and the 39.

  43. thank you kenny . the cross u had to bear during those days was unbealivable . anyone who has apop over last season or the money spent needs to have a word with themsevles thank u again. respect to the king rip the 96 ynwa

  44. its now 1 20 am had a few beers . at first felt like a huge cloud had lifted but now gettin angry. these lyin bastards have got to pay

  45. havin a few beers its 1 30 am what a day the truth has come out . which we all knew for 23 years .nite and god bless to the 96 we wouldn t let u down thanks to the bishop of liverpool and all the members of the panel u guys done a great job YNWA


  47. Me and my pals never talked about it until a couple of years ago. We bottled it all up. Then out of the blue going to one of the away games Rob, who was the youngest of our 'gang', blurted out how a bloke standing next to him had his arm practically hanging off at the shoulder.....

    I had a row with a bloke at work a few years ago after a "no smoke without fire" comment. I told him exactly what I thought of his opinion, and one of my female colleagues then described me as "menacing".

    You have to get it off your chest, mate, otherwise it will eat away at you.

  48. You STILL having a few beers, Bill???? !!!


  49. Jim, Billy and H8Utd - thanks so much for sharing your experiences.

  50. It's about time, and also time that Kevin MacKenzie was strapped naked to a pole in the centre of Liverpool and publicly flogged (£5 per go, money goes to charity).

  51. If the money went to buying a new striker, we'd have Falcao by our next home game........

  52. Man utd fan here,I knew the police were lying to an extent,but I was gobsmacked when I learned the whole truth yesterday,even though Ive never sang any of the vile songs,I`m ashamed to say there was always a part of me that thought "the scousers must be partly to blame" But I now realise that I,along with the rest of the nation had been duped.I hope now that the 96 get the justice they deserve as do the lying scum who brought shame on our nation......JFT96

  53. thanks for your comments mate,

  54. Still a sad day for our club as we still mourn our family trying to take another step for comfort as we try and find peace for our selves and others. It is even more hurtful for families as they now know that the incident could not only of been avoided but also up to half those past away could of been saved. What agony, I feel your pain and our thoughts are with you.
    As for justice let us not fill ourselves with hate and with love help those still struggling to cope with the loss.Thank you everyone who was some way involved in helping and pushing for the truth. From signing up to a petition, raising awareness or even motivating others,
    Yes a thought for KK who held his head high and behaved like a true manager of our beloved club during that time, the fans who will never walk alone and more imprtantly those that have made and created a KOP heaven for us. Rest in peace.

    Jamie Your best piece of work yet.