PM issues Hillsborough apology
The Prime Minister has issued a "profound apology" to the families of the 96 fans who died at Hillsborough.
Last Updated: 12/09/12 9:20pm
The Prime Minister has issued a "profound apology" to the families of the 96 football fans who lost their lives in the disaster at Hillsborough in 1989.
In a statement to the House of Commons, David Cameron also said that the Hillsborough Independent Panel report revealed that Liverpool fans were not to blame for the disaster at the FA Cup semi-final.
He said: "Today's report is black and white. The Liverpool fans were not at fault for the disaster."
The panel's findings also reveal that evidence provided to the original inquiry was significantly amended and that "authorities sought to give a completely unjust account of events."
The Hillsborough Independent Panel, chaired by the Bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Rev James Jones, found the initial inquest into the disaster and the subsequent Taylor Report contained many flaws.
Mr Cameron admitted that the findings of the Panel will be "deeply distressing", while he also lambasted the police and emergency services for their "shortcomings" on the day.
The Prime Minister conceded that "police reports were significantly altered" ahead of the original inquest, which blamed the tragedy on a lack of police control.
But the newly-published documents reveal that police and emergency services made "strenuous attempts" to deflect the blame onto innocent fans.
The latest report also claimed governments over the last 23 years had not done enough to challenge the initial findings, although there was no evidence that any government had been involved in a cover-up.
The emergency services stand accused of "multiple failures", and Mr Cameron insisted it was clear that more could have been done to save lives after the full scale of the tragedy became clear.
The Panel's report reveals that emergency services implemented a "cut-off point" of 3.15pm to attempt to revive those who had been crushed at the Leppings Lane end of the stadium.
The Prime Minister also hit out at sections of the media for publishing "despicable untruths" relating to the behaviour of Liverpool fans at the ill-fated FA Cup semi-final.
After concluding that Liverpool fans neither caused or contributed to the deaths of the 96, Mr Cameron issued a "proper and profound apology on behalf of the government and the country".
He conceded that the families who lost relatives in the disaster had suffered a "double injustice", and that it was wrong they have had to wait so long to be given access to 450,000 pages of official documents.
The Prime Minister went on to announce that the Attorney General will study the new findings before deciding whether to apply to the High Court to take action against authorities who "attempted to create a completely unjust account of events".
Labour leader Ed Miliband echoed Mr Cameron's apology, and admitted the "uncomfortable truth" that his party should have done more to challenge the originals findings during their 13 years in office.
He said: "It shames us as a country that it has taken 23 years to get to the truth of what happened at Hillsborough.
"The Prime Minister was right to offer an unreserved apology, but all governments during this period bear their share of responsibility for the failure to get to the truth, so we on this side also apologise to the families that we didn't do enough to help."