TAW has learned that the BBC have seen confidential documents that reveal Margaret Thatcher was informed that a senior Merseyside police officer blamed “drunken Liverpool fans” for causing the disaster.
The briefings, written in the immediate aftermath of the disaster, include cabinet minutes and letters to and from No.10 Downing Street.
The most controversial issue in the papers the BBC has seen relates to what Mrs Thatcher was being told about the views of some senior members of the Merseyside Police Force.
One letter, written four days after the disaster, reveals what Mrs Thatcher had told about the views of senior members of Merseyside Police Force, after a meeting with Downing Street advisors and the Kenneth Oxford, then the Chief Constable of Merseyside Police force, alongside some other senior MPF colleagues.
In the letter, the Merseyside Chief Constable states:
“A key factor in causing the disaster was the fact that large numbers of Liverpool fans had turned up without tickets. This was getting lost sight of in attempts to blame the police, the football authorities etc”.
The Prime Minister was informed that a senior member of the Merseyside Police Force directly blamed supporters:
“One officer [unnamed], born and bred in Liverpool, said that he was deeply ashamed to say that it was drunken Liverpool fans who had caused this disaster, just as they had caused the deaths at Heysel”.
The missives also reveal how the Chief Constable was uneasy with how the disaster was reported:
“He deplored the Press’s morbid concentration on pictures of bodies. He was also uneasy about the way in which Anfield was being turned into a shrine”.
Other documents also reveal how determined the Conservative Government was to push through the Football Supporters Act despite resistance from Lord Justice Taylor, whose report but the blame for the disaster at the feet of South Yorkshire Police.
The documents, obtained by the BBC via The Hillsborough Independent Panel despite some opposition only provide a merest glimpse of what may or may not come to light over the next few months given the volume of material to be considered.
Further details on what was being discussed and told behind the scenes and will be made public today on BBC Radio 4’sThe World at One.