Mayor Joe Anderson OBE, Cllr Richard Kemp CBE, Cllr Sarah Jennings
On 15 April 1989, 96 people went to a football match from which they would never return. Liverpool City Council places on record its resolution that those 96 will never be forgotten by this city.
This Council also records its full support for the families of the 96 who have had to fight the authorities, and successive governments, for 23 years to have the truth publicly revealed. Their determination to uncover the truth has never wavered and they have conducted themselves with dignity despite repeated setbacks in their campaign. A campaign driven by love for their family members who died so needlessly and a desire for truth and justice. This Council also recognises the survivors of the Hillsborough disaster who have suffered in silent trauma ever since.
This Council welcomes the Hillsborough Panel’s independent report released on 12 September 2012 which determined beyond any doubt that there was severe failings by public authorities at Hillsborough that had catastrophic consequences and which also revealed the extent of the vile and deliberate smear campaign immediately embarked upon by South Yorkshire Police, assisted by Sir Irvine Patnick MP, to cruelly divert the blame onto the innocent fans. This despicable action led not only to those closest to the tragedy, but the entire city, being plagued by stigma and vilification by sections of the media for more than two decades.
The families and city’s anguish has also been compounded by certain high-profile politicians and other public figures who have previously deemed it appropriate to share their ill-informed and grossly insensitive comments about the tragedy which have perpetuated the lies and cover up, some of whom have been forced to offer insincere and/or wholly inadequate apologies in light of the panel’s findings.
Now that the truth is known, this Council will fight with the families to ensure that justice follows. In support of the fight for justice this Council:
1. welcomes the publication of the Hillsborough Independent report and places on record its sincere gratitude to the Bishop of Liverpool and members of the panel and also the secretariat offices for their expertise, sensitivity, dedication and commitment to establishing the truth;
2. welcomes the findings of the Independent Panel’s report which has revealed the serious failings of several lead authorities, including South Yorkshire Police, South Yorkshire Metropolitan Ambulance Service, the Football Association, Sheffield City Council and Sheffield Wednesday Football Club and which also cleared the fans of any blame;
3. formally thanks the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary, together with all those MPs – locally and nationally – for their support and actions to ensure that the truth is heard and that justice follows expeditiously;
4. welcomes the Attorney General’s announcement that he intends to apply to the High Court to have the verdicts of the original inquests quashed and supports the Mayor’s request to the Chief Coroner to determine that fresh inquests should take place in Liverpool paid for by the Government rather than local taxpayers;
5. welcomes the inquiries being conducted by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) and Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in relation to the actions of South Yorkshire Police in the Hillsborough disaster and looks forward to speedy and just conclusions to these investigations;
6. calls upon the Home Secretary to enact emergency legislation that gives the IPCC sufficient powers to compel all former officers and serving officers to give evidence to its inquiry so as the investigation cannot be hindered by procedural blockages;
7. welcomes the overdue resignation of Sir Norman Bettison, and condemns his claim in his resignation statement that he never blamed the fans, but forgets that just one day after the panel published its report which absolved the fans of any blame whatsoever, he still stated that his view was that the fans’ behaviour at Hillsborough made the job of the police harder than it needed to be;
8. notes the allegations in relation to Sir Norman Bettison’s leading role in the police cover-up and smear campaign and awaits the outcome of the investigations being conducted by the IPCC and DPP but in the meantime requests that the Chief Executive write to the respective organisations to express this Council’s expectation that the scope of the investigations shall not be influenced or diluted in any way by his resignation from the force or the timing thereof;
9. deplores the fact that Sir Norman Bettison remains entitled to his full pension pending the outcome of the ongoing investigations;
10. supports the Mayor’s call as set out in the Council e-petition currently running at 10,700 supporters for Sir Norman Bettison’s knighthood and QPM and honorary fellowship of Liverpool John Moores University to be stripped as a result of his comments in relation to the fans which again sought to shift the blame on to innocent people, a despicable tactic which was deployed at the time of the disaster and which successfully tormented the families of the deceased, survivors of the tragedy and people of Liverpool for 23 years and that this be conveyed to the Honours Forfeiture and the Governing Body of Liverpool John Moores University;
11. supports the Mayor’s call as set out in the Council e-petition currently running at 12,100 supporters for Sir Irvine Patnick, former MP for Sheffield Hallam, to be stripped of his knighthood for his role in orchestrating the Hillsborough disaster cover up and that this be conveyed to the Honours Forfeiture Committee;
12. supports the Mayor’s request to the Director General of the BBC that a public service broadcaster, funded by taxpayers, should not provide a platform for Kelvin McKenzie to share his biased opinions in future broadcasts, given his inability to temper his comments with fairness or balance given his lead role in promoting the vicious lies and cover up, most notably through his grossly insensitive and damaging headline ‘The Truth’ just four days after the disaster occurred and which he continued to promulgate since;
13. endorses the letter from the Mayor to the editor of The Sun newspaper indicating that he would be minded to recommend that the city review the widespread ban on buying The Sun only in a further 23 years’ time;
14. notes the actions of the Liverpool Law Society and the RSA Insurance Group which both declined to provide full disclosure of their documentation to the Hillsborough Independent Panel and that the Mayor is to meet each organisation to express the Council’s disquiet at their actions in these matters;
15. condemns the shameful behaviour of the Football Association whose initial response to the independent panel’s report was to simply note the findings, even after it had clearly been criticised for allowing an unsuitable stadium to be used for this fixture, and thereafter taking a full 48 hours to issue any meaningful apology and admit its contribution to the disaster.
16. calls upon the FA to undertake an independent, comprehensive investigation into its actions in agreeing that Hillsborough was a fit and suitable venue for the FA cup semi-final on 15 April 1989 despite its track record both at the 1988 semi-final and other high-profile games in previous years.
Council resolves to continue to do whatever it can to support the families who lost their loved ones at Hillsborough as well as survivors and fans affected in their ongoing fight for justice.