MP’s sup­port for ‘Hills­bor­ough Law’ calls

Midweek Visiter - - Front Page - BY JAMIE LOPEZ jamie.lopez@trin­i­tymir­ @jamie_lopez1

THE Prime Min­is­ter must sup­port a Hills­bor­ough Law to cre­ate “a last­ing legacy” to the fam­i­lies of the 96 vic­tims, Sefton Cen­tral MP Bill Ester­son has said.

Mr Ester­son, who is the Shadow Busi­ness and In­ter­na­tional Trade Min­is­ter, has signed a let­ter with other Labour MPs, call­ing on the Gov­ern­ment to change the law to pre­vent oth­ers hav­ing to go through what the Hills­bor­ough fam­i­lies suf­fered for more than 27 years.

Eigh­teen of the vic­tims came from the bor­ough of Sefton – the area with the high­est num­ber of vic­tims of the dis­as­ter – and are re­mem­bered on a spe­cial Hills­bor­ough memo­rial out­side Crosby Civic Hall, in Water­loo.

In the let­ter, Labour MPs write: “We are writ­ing to urge you to sup­port ‘Hills­bor­ough Law’ (The Pub­lic Au­thor­i­ties (Ac­count­abil­ity) Bill 2017).

“Af­ter the con­clu­sion of the re­cent Hills­bor­ough In­quest, in April, 2016, the fam­i­lies called for a last­ing legacy to pre­vent other fam­i­lies hav­ing to go through what they suf­fered for more than 27 years.

“The Bill cod­i­fies du­ties on pub­lic au­thor­i­ties and of­fi­cials, and pri­vate en­ti­ties that are pub­lic-fac­ing, such as own­ers of sports sta­dia, shop­ping malls or so­cial hous­ing, to act in the pub­lic in­ter­est and with can­dour.

“If en­acted, the law would re­quire that of­fi­cials would have to come clean about wrong-do­ing and fail­ures and co­op­er­ate pro-ac­tively with in­ves­ti­ga­tions, in­quiries and in­quests.

“The draft law pro­vides vic­tims and their fam­i­lies with a le­gal ‘tool­box’ to en­force such trans­parency, and new crim­i­nal of­fences would apply to se­nior man­agers who have wil­fully failed to com­ply or cov­ered up in­sti­tu­tional and in­di­vid­ual fail­ures. The law re­quires in­sti­tu­tions to have eth­i­cal poli­cies and it would em­power or­di­nary of­fi­cials to re­quire their or­gan­i­sa­tions and man­agers to be trans­par­ent.

“The sec­ond part of the Bill pro­vides for par­ity of pro­vi­sion for vic­tims with the pub­lic au­thor­i­ties in­volved in in­quests and in­quiries.”

Speak­ing about Labour’s call on the Prime Min­is­ter, Mr Ester­son said: “The in­cred­i­ble brav­ery of the Hills­bor­ough fam­i­lies and their quest for truth and jus­tice last­ing 27 years, mak­ing it the long­est case in UK le­gal his­tory, will hope­fully mark a wa­ter­shed mo­ment for the coun­try.

“But events more re­cently, such as the Gren­fell Tower dis­as­ter and the search for the truth by those af­fected, serve to re­mind us why the Hills­bor­ough Law is so im­por­tant to so many. The Prime Min­is­ter said she wanted to tackle burn­ing in­jus­tices when she ar­rived in Down­ing Street.

“She now needs to match her rhetoric through help­ing make the Hills­bor­ough Law a re­al­ity.”

Sefton Cen­tral MP Bill Ester­son, left, praised the Hills­bor­ough fam­i­lies’ 27-year bat­tle for Truth and Jus­tice, above, as he backed the call for a Hills­bor­ough Law which would en­sure that no-one in­volved in such a ma­jor tragedy should ever have to face...

Flash­back to the hor­rors of the Hills­bor­ough sta­dium dis­as­ter, in Sh­effield, in April, 1989

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