Former PM reveals senior minister hid in cupboard to avoid meeting Hillsborough families

A senior government minister hid in a cupboard in a bid to avoid meeting Hillsborough families according to a former Prime Minister.

Theresa May said she had been told that a secretary of state had sought to cower away rather than meet with representatives of families of the 97 Liverpool fans who were killed as a result of the tragic stadium crush in 1989.

Speaking to ITV News ahead of the publication of her new book, the former Conservative party leader said she had been met with pushback on continuing with the independent panel into the stadium disaster when entering government.

Mrs May also paid tribute to the work of Margaret Aspinall for her role in continuing the fight for justice.

Speaking at Anfield, the former Prime Minister said, “One of the key issues that I dealt with that ignited the spark inside me that saw this issue of abuse of power was Hillsborough.” Mrs May said while she had not been on Merseyside to meet the families while in Number 10, she sought to do so in Westminster.

She added, “It was the sense that here were people who for so long had been struggling to get the authorities to listen to them. When you look back, that shouldn’t have been the case. 

“It was only when the independent panel was set up in early 2010 under a Labour government, and I had to decide whether to continue with it, that we were able to get a group working who then actually revealed to the world what had happened.”

Mrs May, who resigned as Prime Minister almost four years ago, said there had been a reaction from some quarters in her party that Hillsborough was a “long time ago” and questions were raised such as “why try going over it again?” It was then she made the startling revelation about the lengths some in power went to to avoid meeting those impacted.

She said, “I’m told, but this is third, fourth hand, there was one secretary of state who hid in a cupboard rather than meet the families.

“I didn’t actually confront anybody about it but their departments would not have wanted to rake over the past, possibly a defensive mechanism again, maybe we made mistakes in not properly addressing the results in some of the previous reports that had come out. That whole push would have been just stonewall, don’t do this.”

The ex-PM also said she was not seeking to take credit for bringing justice to the families. She said, “The credit goes to Margaret Aspinall and all those who campaigned over those years to get to the truth. 

“What I saw was that intense dedication and commitment and absolute belief that it was not the fault of the fans. Here was a woman who had suffered great personal tragedy through the loss of her son and yet was taking up that campaign on behalf of the families of all those who lost their lives.”

Image: Theresa May – Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2016 to 2019. Credit: Andrew Parsons – This file has been extracted from another file. Licence: OGL 3

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