100,000 demand release of UK's secret Hillsborough files

23rd August 2011, Comments 0 comments

An online petition demanding the release of all British government documents about the 1989 Hillsborough football disaster has attracted over 100,000 signatures, which could trigger a debate in parliament.

The British government said last week it would appeal against a ruling that then prime minister Margaret Thatcher's discussions about the tragedy should be made public.

The withheld files are said to include reports presented to Thatcher, minutes of meetings she attended and correspondence between her Downing Street office and the interior minister at the time, Douglas Hurd.

Liverpool's current manager Kenny Dalglish, the club's former striker Michael Owen and Liverpool-born Newcastle midfielder Joey Barton were among those on Twitter urging people to sign the petition.

The tragedy, in which 96 people were crushed to death, was caused by massive overcrowding in the Leppings Lane End of Sheffield's Hillsborough stadium at the 1989 FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest.

A seven-member independent panel is going through the wealth of unseen files relating to the tragedy.

The petition calls for "full government disclosure and publication of all documents, discussions and reports relating to the 1989 Hillsborough disaster".

Steve Rotheram, a member of parliament for Liverpool, said he was "pleased but not surprised" the 100,000 figure had been reached.

Government whips will now be "forced to think seriously now about putting the issue on the agenda -- more than 100,000 people have demanded justice".

"And it's not just Scousers," he said, referring to the nickname for Liverpudlians, "it's people from all over the country who are demanding to see these files out in the open".

If 100,000 people sign a petition on the government's e-petitions website, it triggers a process that can end with lawmakers voting in parliament on the issue.

© 2011 AFP

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