Steve Rotherham and Andy Burnham say the Government needs to 'level the scales of justice'

MAYOR of the Liverpool City Region, Steve Rotheram, and Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, have renewed calls for the Government to support a "Hillsborough Law" to ensure fairer treatment for bereaved families.

Power in this country is not necessarily in the hands of the many. It's concentrated in the hands of far too few

The Mayors jointly hosted a live streamed event on Facebook last Friday to highlight the #HillsboroughLawNow campaign. They were joined by representatives of bereaved families from tragedies past and present, senior political and public figures, and campaigners including Maxine Peake, who took the role of Anne Williams in the ITV drama 'Anne'.

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Maxine Peake in 'Anne' Image: ITV

The campaign for a Hillsborough Law is calling for a charter for families bereaved through public tragedy that would be legally binding on all public bodies.

During the livestream, Steve Rotherham and Andy Burnham highlighted the need for the legislation to include a statutory “duty of candour” on all public servants - including police officers - during any inquiries or investigations, and public funding to allow the "proper participation" of bereaved families at inquests.

The measures would be based on those recommended in a report carried out in the wake of the tragedy, in which 97 Liverpool fans died as a result of the crush at an FA Cup semi-final match in Sheffield in 1989.

"The fact that after decades of campaigning, not a single person has been held accountable for the tragedy, is a stain on the judicial system in this country," said Steve Rotherham during the livestream on Friday 7 January.

"It is just one case in a litany of injustices where the legal system has locked ordinary people out of the rights to full disclosure of the facts and the legal means to ensure that justice was served.

"This government likes to talk about levelling up. But for me, it's not just about big announcements and shiny infrastructure projects. It's about levelling up long term structural inequalities and injustices and there are fewer bigger than this," said the Mayor for the Liverpool City Region.

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The Anne Williams mural in Anfield Image: Confidentials

Andy Burnham, speaking live from The People's History Museum in Manchester, said that when things go wrong in this country, the fight that people face is too long and too hard. 

"When things go wrong, the authorities close ranks," said The Mayor of Greater Manchester.

"They blame victims sometimes. They sometimes create false narratives that can be very hard to shift. And it's because power in this country is not necessarily in the hands of the many. It's concentrated in the hands of far too few.

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Andy Burnham proposed the bill to parliament in 2017

"There are also people fighting for justice today going through much of the same as what the Hillsborough families went through," said Mayor Burnham, referring to the Grenfell Tower tragedy. 

Two former Prime Ministers have also come together to put their weight behind the Hillsborough Law Now campaign - Theresa May and Gordon Brown both played an important role in bringing truth for the Hillsborough families. 

In a matter of days, the campaign has drawn widespread support on social media. Brighton & Hove Albion has become the first Premier League football club to join Liverpool and publicly back the campaign.

Last updated 10 January 2022