Burnham in Anfield VIP role

From left to right: Andy Burnham, Margaret Aspinall, Steve Rotherham MP, Jenny Hicks, Maria Eagle MP and Trevor Hicks
From left to right: Andy Burnham, Margaret Aspinall, Steve Rotherham MP, Jenny Hicks, Maria Eagle MP and Trevor Hicks

A LOCAL MP who played a leading role in exposing the Hillsborough cover-up will be a VIP guest at the 25th anniversary commemorations.

Leigh parliamentary representative Andy Burnham spoke of being honoured after receiving the invitation to the memorial service, which will take place at Anfield on April 15.

Mr Burnham will speak at the home of Liverpool Football Club at the event, which is expected to draw up to 30,000 people to pay their respects to the 96 fans who died at the FA Cup semi-final in 1989.

Mr Burnham previously spoke at the 20th anniversary event after calling for the full disclosure of papers, with the heckling given to his speech by supporters angry at not receiving the truth about the disaster made national headlines.

He said: “Looking back the 20th anniversary was absolutely pivotal. It reminded the country there was still an enormous sense of injustice.

“At that moment those voices came off the Kop and into every living room in the country.

“It’s a chance for me to pay my respects to the families and the city of Liverpool for their campaign. All I have done was put things right which should have been done many years ago.”

The 25th anniversary service will be the more poignant as it will come just days after new inquests into the deaths of the 96 fans begin, after the original verdicts were quashed at the High Court.

Investigations revealed South Yorkshire Police had altered hundreds of pieces of evidence and doctored officers’ statements to try and blame the football fans for the tragedy.

Mr Burnham has now reacted furiously after a pre-inquest hearing was told the force intended to say alcohol played a role in the disaster, and also warned against any sense of victory, saying nothing had yet been achieved an the ordeal for the families of those who died, including Leigh mum Delia Brown whose son Carl lost his life, was only just beginning.

He said: “The families are entering the darkest time of all, and we all need to bear that in mind, and I will be thinking of that when I address the memorial service.

“It is only in the last few weeks that Delia has heard for the first time basic information about what happened to Carl after 25 years. That is almost unfathomable.

“Some shocking things have come out of the hearing. The police’s attempt to use alcohol again is utterly disgraceful, and a huge amount of extra material has been seized which wasn’t shown to the independent panel.

“The scale of this just gets bigger and bigger.”