Prime Minister urged to consider 'Hillsborough Law' in wake of inquests into deaths in Sheffield
Families of those who died in the Hillsborough disaster in Sheffield have called on Prime Minister Theresa May to back a new anti-corruption law compelling public officials to tell the truth and help expose cover-ups.
The 'Hillsborough Law' would make it a criminal offence for anyone to fail in their 'duty of candour' to tell the truth and would impose a duty to assist investigations of public officials and bodies.
The demand comes after the conclusion of the Hillsborough inquests in April this year, where the jury found that 96 Liverpool fans who died at an FA Cup semi final at Hillsborough football stadium in 1989 were unlawfully killed.
Relatives of the victims criticised South Yorkshire Police and other bodies involved in the inquests for trying to protect themselves, deflect blame and minimise their responsibilities for the disaster during the two-year legal process.
Lawyers for the families have now drafted the proposed Hillsborough Law to prevent a repeat of the situation in any future inquiries.
Pete Weatherby QC, representing 22 of the families, said such a law would mean civil servants would be compelled to tell the truth or face a possible prosecution, rather than protect their job, their bosses or the reputation of the body they work for.
"It all seems obvious, but the best evidence on why it's necessary to put it into law is the recent Hillsborough Inquests," he added.
Elkan Abrahamson, a solicitor backing the Hillsborough families, said large organisations, especially publicly funded ones, 'simply don't feel the need to be truthful'.
He added: "These are people whose wages we pay. How can that possibly be right?"
At a press conference in Liverpool, families of the 96 Hillsborough disaster victims said they had met Mrs May, then the Home Secretary, after the inquests ended.
Dorothy Griffiths, who lost her brother, Vincent Fitzsimmons, in the disaster, said: "She came to speak to us all. Hopefully now as Prime Minister she will look at this proposal in a favourable light and realise the need to put it in place as soon as possible."