Lib Dem peer Lord Rennard today welcomes a Bill which he says will “help to bring about the justice sought by the families and friends of the Hillsborough victims for almost a quarter of a century”.
Members of the House of Lords are today expected to approve new powers to help the investigation of police officers involved in the 1989 disaster.
The Police (Complaints and Conduct) Bill, already approved by MPs, will grant the IPCC new powers to compel police officers and staff to testify as witnesses in its investigations.
It will also mean that in exceptional circumstances the IPCC could investigate a matter already probed by its predecessor, the Police Complaints Authority.
Speaking as the Bill receives its second reading in the House of Lords, Lord Rennard will say that people in Liverpool were right to ask why previous governments did not act more decisively to ensure that the truth which was well known in the city was made more widely known nationally.
He will tell peers: “I speak as someone proud to have been born and brought up in the great city of Liverpool.
“Liverpool people are generally proud of our city, but aware also of prejudices against it held by some who know little about it and its people.
“I am sure that I am not alone in fearing that elements of prejudice against the city contributed to the terrible events at Hillsborough. The false allegations that were made in some newspapers and the cover-up of responsibility for 96 deaths that persisted for 23 years.
“Questions are still being asked. How can it have taken 23 years to get to this point? Why have police officers not been compelled to give evidence in such cases until now? And is it right that evidence about the death of 96 people cannot necessarily be taken, even with these proposals, from people who have retired or resigned from the police?
“This Bill is very necessary. The report of the Hillsborough Independent Panel has been universally accepted, although some of those responsible for the defamation of those who died have yet to accept any proper responsibility for what they did at the time, and some of those who colluded in decisions not to let the truth emerge have yet to explain.
“There is now widespread agreement in all major parties that confidence in the police needs to be restored by looking carefully at all the issues surrounding ‘how we police the police’.”
Published and promoted by Tim Gordon on behalf of the Liberal Democrats, both at LDHQ, 8-10 Great George Street, London, SW1P 3AE.