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Steve Prepares for Emotional 23rd Anniversary of Hillsborough Disaster

(April 14, 2012)

Kop

Liverpool Walton MP, Steve Rotheram, has spoken ahead of the all-Merseyside FA Cup semi-final and the 23rd anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster, this weekend.

Steve explained, “Football has a habit of throwing up emotional dates in the diary and this weekend will be no different.

“On Saturday, our city will be divided into red and blue, as our 2 great Merseyside clubs battle for a place in the FA Cup final. On Sunday our city will join together red and blue side by side to remember the 96 who died on that beautiful spring day on the 15th April 1989.

“For over two decades the city of Liverpool and wider football fraternity has paused on April 15th, to remember the worst sporting disaster in British history, simply known as Hillsborough.

“This weekend will mark 23 years since South Yorkshire police gave the order to open the gate that would ultimately lead to the tragic deaths of 96 innocent men, women and children. It also marks 23 years since South Yorkshire police and certain members of the then government, decided to protect the police and blame the fans, and 23 years since the discredited Sun newspaper printed the most distorted, hurtful and scandalous lies about the tragic events of that day under the front page headline, 'The Truth'.

“In the past 12 months, Hillsborough has been back in the headlines, but not always for the right reasons. Ill-informed politicians and certain sections of the media that are determined to pander to a warped agenda, have both done their best to derail the campaign for justice. Even I'll informed comedians have displayed a starting ignorance with ill-informed comments.

“The Prime Minister has even claimed that the families of the 96 victims are; "like a blind man in a darkened room searching for a black cat that isn't there."

“These remarks were not only insensitive, but they serve as a reminder of what we on Merseyside have always feared; that the passage of time seems to have been long enough to dilute both the horror of that day and the consequences of what unfolded.

“To date, no one has ever been held accountable for the deaths of 96 people at the Hillsborough stadium in Sheffield and what is more, certain people are telling the families to; "forget about it and move on.”

“Let me be clear; until there is Justice for the 96, the voices of those left to fight will never be silenced.

“The debate in October in the House of Commons triggered by 140,000 signatures to an on line petition has given the campaign for justice the momentum that it needed to return once more to the public conscience.

“Later this year, the Hillsborough Independent Panel will release their report, based on their findings of over two million uncensored government documents relating to that fateful day.

“It will be a landmark moment in history. Not just for the families. In a time when collusion between press, politics and police is not quite so hard to believe, (it was judged by some to be implausible in 1989) perhaps people will finally come to realise what Hillsborough campaigners have said all along; that it was the fans that were the real heroes on that day.

“In the next few months, the eyes of the world will be back on our great City. What the world will see is a Liverpool steadfast in our resilience, relentless in our endeavour and united in our remembrance.

“And in a year that promises to be one to remember for British sport, my hope is that one of our national game's darkest chapters will hopefully, draw a lot closer to its conclusion.”

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