A campaign to release files on Margaret Thatcher’s discussions about the Hillsborough disaster has reached 100,000 names, so it will be considered for a Commons debate.
Ninety six football supporters were crushed to death in 1989 at Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough ground in Sheffield after police failed to control the crowds during an FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest. It is still Britain’s worst ever sporting disaster.
The petition was brought in after information commissioner Christopher Graham ruled that the papers should be made public.
The Cabinet Office said it will appeal against the ruling so that the Hillsborough Independent Panel, set up under the Labour government, can control what information is disclosed.
But e-petition rules say that the Commons backbench business committee must consider arranging a debate over any petition that receives over 100,000 names.
The Hillsborough petition received support from high profile names including footballer Michael Owen, actor Simon Pegg, musician Billy Brag and comedian Dara O’Briain.
The MP for Walton, Liverpool, Steve Rotheram, said he was “pleased but not surprised” that the decision had been made. "They're forced to think seriously now about putting the issue on the agenda – more than 100,000 people have demanded justice.
"And it's not just scousers, it's people from all over the country who are demanding to see these files out in the open."
Labour MP Andy Burnham said: “[The families] have suffered so much down the years. They now need the full truth. Nothing else will do. The government has to deliver that.”
Hillsborough Justice Campaign chairman Kenny Derbyshire said: "It only reiterates what we have always known – the voices of people from all walks of life are just as loud as ever in their fight for justice and the truth."
Campaigners want the government to fully disclose all documents, discussions and reports relating to the tragedy, in the hope that this will reveal why the government made erroneous claims in the disaster’s aftermath.