Andy Burnham, Shadow Home Secretary and Leigh MP, delivered a rousing speech in the House of Commons on Wednesday, in the wake of the Hillsborough inquest verdicts.
Burnham had played a central role in the fight for justice, after 96 supporters lost their lives at the Hillsborough stadium on 15 April 1989.
With a jury of nine concluding on Tuesday morning that those deaths were unlawful, the focus has now turned to those responsible—most prominently, a negligent police force.
Speaking at the House of Commons on Wednesday afternoon, Burnham laid down a call to arms, saying the guilty parties “must be held to account.”
“At long last, justice for the 96. For their families, for all Liverpool supporters, for an entire city,” he opened.
“But it took too long in coming, and the struggle for it took too great a toll on too many.
“Now those responsible must be held to account for 96 unlawful deaths, and a 27-year cover-up.
“Thankfully, the jury saw through the lies, and I’m sure, repeating what my right-honourable friend the Home Secretary said, this house will join me in thanking the jury for their devotion to this task, and giving two years of their lives to this important public duty.
“When it came, their verdict was simple, clear, powerful and emphatic.
“But it begged the question: how could something so obvious have taken so long? Three reasons.
“First, a police force which has consistently put protecting itself against, over and above protecting people harmed by Hillsborough.
“Second, collusion between that force and a complicit print media.
“Third, a flawed judicial system, that gives the upper hand to those in authority, over and above ordinary people.”
While justice has been delivered to the families affected, and the survivors of the Hillsborough disaster, the story is not over yet.
As thousands gathered for vigil outside Liverpool’s St. George’s Hall on Wednesday, the investigation continues, striving to vindicate Burnham’s words.