Theresa May (Home Secretary; Maidenhead, Conservative)
The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right. I assume that in the course of these investigations, some issues of that sort will be raised and we will need to look at them. I shall say a little more later about the accountability of the police.
Moving on to deal with further investigations, the Director of Public Prosecutions has initiated a review of the panel’s findings. His review will inform a decision as to whether there are grounds to pursue prosecution of any of the parties identified in the report. If the DPP decides that further investigation is necessary, I will ensure that this can be carried out swiftly and thoroughly. In the case of police officers, it is likely that the IPCC will pick up the investigative role. If the DPP finds that a broader investigation is necessary, we will appoint a senior experienced investigator—entirely independent and unconnected to these events—to operate an investigation team within the new National Crime Agency.
The bereaved families have long considered the original inquest to have been inadequate, and the Hillsborough independent panel has pointed to significant flaws. My right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General has studied the panel’s report in detail and looked at the disclosed material and the previous requests for new inquests that were declined by his predecessors. He has confirmed that he will apply to the High Court for the original inquest to be quashed and a new one ordered.
Right hon. and hon. Members will know that it is for the High Court and not for Government to make the final decision, and that we must be careful not to pre-judge the Court’s consideration. Should the Court agree a new inquest, I have asked the chairman of the Hillsborough independent panel, the Bishop of Liverpool, to work with the new chief coroner to ensure that arrangements are put in place in which the families are central, and to ensure that the new inquest is run in a way that reflects the dignity and respect that the families have themselves so consistently demonstrated. I have also asked the Bishop of Liverpool to act as my adviser more generally on Hillsborough-related matters, and he has agreed to do so.