Labour MP calls for vote in Parliament to force new inquest into

Bill Esterson


Bill Esterson, the Labour MP for Sefton Central is calling for a vote in parliament to force a new inquest into the death of Kevin Williams. 

Fifteen-year-old Kevin is one of the 96 people who died at the 1989 Hillsborough disaster and his mum Anne gained 115,000 signatures on a petition on the government website calling for a debate in parliament. 

The original inquest decided that all the victims were dead by 3.15pm on the day of the disaster,  but witnesses have told Anne that Kevin was very much alive until at least 4pm. 

Anne and many others who lost relatives and friends at Hillsborough have argued that the 3.15pm cut off was a convenient excuse to cover up mistakes made by the authorities on the day, notably the decision to prevent ambulances from going onto the pitch to give medical care. 

Also under the spotlight is the refusal of those in charge of the match to give the order to help people escape from the crush on the Leppings Lane terrace. In fact evidence from some witnesses suggests that police officers were told to stop people climbing out of the pens, a decision which may have added to the death toll. 

By giving a 3.15pm cut off for all the victims, the coroner accepted that any mistakes made on the day did not contribute to the number of people who died. Anne and other campaigners argue that to have justice for Kevin and for other people who died, that time needs to be reviewed so that the other decisions can be examined in detail.

Bill Esterson asked the Back Bench Business Committee to hold a debate and to have a vote on holding a new inquest.

Bill said: “Anne Williams has worked hard for nearly 23 years to get the truth acknowledged about what really happened at Hillsborough. She has met people who tried to help Kevin well after the 3.15 cut off given by the coroner. Anne needs a new inquest so that she can get justice for Kevin. She and the other families need to hear the truth about whether decisions taken on the day contributed to the death of their loved ones.

"I am calling for a vote to be held calling for a new inquest. MPs from all parties are supporting the call for a debate but Anne really should have a decision taken by parliament as that will put pressure on for a new inquest. The public want to see a new inquest and so do the vast majority of MPs. I hope that we will be given a debate by the Back Bench Business Committee and that it will result in a vote. That’s why it needs to be in the main House of Commons Chamber not in the second chamber which is in Westminster Hall. Only a debate in the main chamber can lead to a vote. Justice needs to be done and it needs to be seen to be done for the families of all 96 people who died at Hillsborough.”

The e-petition, 'Give Kevin Williams his inquest under section 13 of the coroners Act, we have all the evidence under this section but keep getting refused' has recently exceeded 100,000 signatures.

Mrs Williams is well known as a longstanding Hillsborough campaigner (co-founding the Hillsborough Justice Campaign and the Hope for Hillsborough campaign) and Kevin’s story is well known across Merseyside and the wider area.

Mrs Williams has had three previous requests to the Attorney-General for a new inquest into Kevin’s death refused, and believes that new evidence that has become available allows the Attorney-General to order a new inquest under Section 13 of the Coroners Act.

This debate is topical because of the recent huge success of the e-petition and the imminent publication of the Hillsborough Independent Panel’s report which is due in May. The story has been followed by the local, regional and national press.

The e-petition gained the support of sports personalities, celebrities and politicians from across the country. MPs from across the House have supported the call for a debate and 10 have indicated their willingness to speak in the debate.