David Cameron has reportedly backed “full disclosure” of all the information the government holds on the Hillsborough disaster, allowing the families of those who died to see secret papers about the tragedy for the first time.

A total of 96 Liverpool football fans died on April 15 1989, after they were crushed in the stands at Sheffield Wednesday’s home ground in Hillsborough. The tragedy led to the elimination of standing terraces at all major football club stadiums in England and Scotland.

In a letter seen by the Daily Mirror, Cameron told Labour’s Andy Burnham that “the government is committed to full disclosure of the Hillsborough information it holds. We have proposed that disclosure takes place to the families prior to wider publication”.

MPs are debating full disclosure of the documents after an e-petition collected more than 100,000 signatures.

The families of the dead are apparently particularly keen to learn what South Yorkshire Police told then prime minister Margaret Thatcher about the incident when she visited the Sheffield Wednesday stadium the day after the tragedy.

It is said that some believe South Yorkshire Police failed to execute a major incident plan, denying crushed fans potentially lifesaving medical attention.

The families also question the findings of the single inquest into the 96 deaths, which ruled the victims had all sustained their fatal injuries by 3.15pm.

However, many families believe their loved ones could still have been alive after this point, but owing to the ruling, the coroner did not hear any evidence regarding events that took place after 3.15pm.

The coroner’s verdict of accidental death meant that no individual or organisation has been held to account for the disaster.

A panel of independent experts will examine the documents and report on what the details add to the public understanding of the disaster.