Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson slams Lib Dem pledge to r

Bill Esterson

 

Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson said he was baffled by the Liberal Democrat's pre-election pledge to re-introduce standing in football stadiums in the UK.

Standing terraces were removed in this country following the 1989 Hillsborough tragedy which resulted in the death of 96 football fans.

The Football Spectators Act 1989, which was passed after the tragedy ensures fans attending games in England's top two divisions are seated.

But now the Liberal Democrats want to change the law to scrap the ban and reintroduce standing at stadiums.

Labour MP Bill Esterson said he vehemently opposes the Lib Dem plans to bring standing back to England's football top flights.

Bill said: "The simple fact of the matter is that standing at football matches with large number of people affects safety. This was true in 1989 and it is true today. That is why abolition of standing terraces was enforced then and nothing has changed now.

"I simply cannot understand the logic behind this Liberal Democrat pledge.

"I went to Hillsborough two years before the tragedy in 1989. Even then I could see just how dangerous the standing terraces were there. When I went people were being crushed, thankfully there were no fatalities that year, but you could certainly sense that something wasn't right.

"Fast forward two years later and the same thing happened again. This time the result, as we all know, left 96 people dead. Countless more seriously injured. Hundreds more left carrying physical and emotional scars for the rest of their lives and that doesn't include the countless families and friends whose lives were destroyed then too.

"I cannot support a return to that and I will do my utmost to oppose the Lib Dem plans."

Bill said he thought it highly unlikely that we will ever see standing at top flight stadiums in Merseyside.

Bill said: "Merseyside knows only too well the devastating consequences of poor safety at football grounds. That is why I don't think we'll ever see standing at grounds here ever again.

"I think the Liberal Democrats' memories are far too short otherwise they wouldn't be making this totally crazy pledge.

"But then the Liberal Democrats don't have a good track record with election pledges, remember tuition fees? This hair-brained pledge is one that I would be happy to see Nick Clegg and his Lib Dem colleagues break."