Professor Phil Scraton, a key figure in the Hillsborough campaign for justice, has turned down an OBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours list.
The New year Honours list, which is due to be released tomorrow, celebrate those who have done outstanding work in the community, for the country, or in their field of expertise.
Prof Scraton, who led the Hillsborough Independent Panel’s research team, has chosen not to receive the honour in protest “at those who remained unresponsive” to help those affected by the disaster which saw 96 people killed in 1989.
In a statement regarding the decision, Prof Scraton said: “I researched Hillsborough from 1989, publishing reports, articles and the first edition of Hillsborough: The Truth in 1990.
“Until 2009, and despite compelling evidence, successive governments declined to pursue a thorough, independent review of the context, consequences and aftermath of the disaster.
“This changed as a direct result of the families’ and survivors’ brave, persistent campaign.
“It led to the Hillsborough Independent Panel, its ground-breaking findings, new inquests and their crucially significant verdicts.”
“I could not receive an honour on the recommendation of those who remained unresponsive to the determined efforts of bereaved families and survivors to secure truth and justice.”
He said that his choice “might come as a disappointment to some Hillsborough families, survivors and whoever nominated me”.
He continued: “Finally, I could not accept an honour tied in name to the ‘British Empire’.
“In my scholarship and teaching I remain a strong critic of the historical, cultural and political contexts of imperialism and their international legacy.”
The Hillsborough disaster occurred n 1989 when 24,000 Liverpool fans travelled to Sheffield for their club’s FA Cup semi-final match against Nottingham Forest.
Due to the stadium overcrowding in the Liverpool stands, there was a huge crush where 96 people lost their lives.
In the years after the incident, campaigners, including Prof Scraton, called for justice as they believed that the fans were unlawfully killed.
In 2016, 27 years after the disaster, the campaigners were finally vindicated after an inquest finally ruled that the 96 fans were killed unlawfully.