Steve to Submit Hillsborough Application(September 13, 2011)
This afternoon we will make the case before the backbench business committee for a debate on Hillsborough. I feel that it is very important that we are all aware of the parliamentary procedures so, if you will allow, I would like to explain the process as there has been some confusion on this matter......
The government have to offer the committee 35 days worth of parliamentary debate per session (September-July). Now, you might think that would mean we get one a week for every week that parliament sits. It doesn’t work like that. The government decide when this time will be allocated, so you could have a situation where the committee is granted four days in one week or you could find that the first day the government offers to the committee in this session is in the last week in November or December. We won’t know that. All we can do is hope that the committee recognise the urgency and the national interest in this story and then act. In other words, my hope is that a debate on the release of the Hillsborough files will be a priority for the backbench business committee schedule - meaning as soon as the government free up one of the 35 days, it’s ours and we will have the chance to debate the issue on the floor of the House of Commons.
Let me be clear; we have momentum on our side. The petition is still being signed on a daily basis and has already been signed by an extraordinary number of people from all different backgrounds and parts of the country. We are getting close to the truth, but we are not there yet.
Hillsborough brought out the best in us as a city. But it also brought out the best in human nature. It was first and foremost a human tragedy.
So let’s keep fighting. Let’s keep asking people to sign the petition and raise awareness. And I promise that I’ll do my bit in Parliament, and keep the pressure on.
Best wishes and with heartfelt thanks,