Burnham 'understands' anger

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Sports minister Andy Burnham insists the Government do accept there has been a "major injustice" 20 years after the Hillsborough tragedy.

Everton fan Burnham, the MP for Leigh, was forced to halt his speech at Wednesday's 20th anniversary memorial service at Anfield for the 96 fans who died at Sheffield Wednesday's ground. Liverpool fans chanted "justice for the 96" for a full two minutes before Burnham was able to continue.

"There has been a sense of frustration that the country did not recognise the strength of feeling on Merseyside. I am from this area, I have always understood the feeling." said Burnham.

Burnham, the secretary of state for culture, media and sport, felt the full force of that anger. Afterwards he gave some hope more information could soon be published to held the justice campaign being run by the Hillsborough Family Support Group.

"I have never wanted to hold out false hopes but at the same time I do believe strongly that people should have access to the full facts and I am not yet certain that they do."

Burnham continued: "Together with Maria Eagle, the local (Garston) MP, we have called for full disclosure of any further documents that have not been put in the public domain and are held by any public body.

"Hopefully, that is a small step that might help people. My point is a simple one, that all information should now be out. There is a convention, the 30-year rule for official papers to be held for that length of time.

"But my argument to colleagues in Government is that it is inappropriate in this case. People deserve the full facts now, so I will be pursuing that with my colleagues.

Wednesday's service was attended by 28,000 people, and was part-religious service, part-protest rally, part-pop concert, with Gerry Marsden signing 'You'll never walk alone' at the end. It was a remarkable day, seen on TV across the world, and Liverpool fans took full advantage of the exposure.

They demonstrated their anger that nobody in public office has ever been convicted of any offence following the 1989 FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest, the scene of the country's worst ever sporting disaster.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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