UPDATE: Kelvin MacKenzie has apologised

The prime minister has called on former Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie to "face up to his own responsibilities" over the paper's coverage of the Hillsborough tragedy.

David Cameron was speaking to MPs after revealing the contents of the Bishop of Liverpool's inquiry into the disaster, which revealed police and emergency services made "strenuous attempts" to deflect the blame for the deaths of 96 Liverpool fans at Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough stadium on 15 April 1989.

Four days after the tragedy, The Sun, then edited by MacKenzie, published a front page story headlined 'THE TRUTH.'

It alleged fans urinated on police, stole from the dead and beat up rescue workers, citing police sources and the then Conservative MP for Sheffield, ‪Irvine Patnick‬.

The story itself alleged a "mob" joked about molesting a dead girl, and quoted a high ranking police man saying: "The fans were just acting like animals. My men faced a double hell - the disaster and the fury of the fans who attacked us."

The reporter who wrote the front page story, Harry Arnold, later said he regretted the headline, which he insisted was MacKenzie's, but said he had written the story in a "fair and balanced" way.

The story prompted a boycott of The Sun in Liverpool, which remains to this day, despite the newspaper apologising for the "terrible mistake" in 2004.

But the paper's move was rebuffed by the chairman of the Hillsborough family support group Phil Hammond, who said "It wasn't an apology, it was an excuse to have a pop at Liverpool."

the sun hillsborough

Controversy: There is a widespread boycott of The Sun in Liverpool


Speaking to MPs on Wednesday Cameron condemned The Sun's "appalling article", as MacKenzie's name began to trend on Twitter.

"My view is that Kelvin MacKenzie needs to take responsibility for that," he said. "Lots of apologies have been made but we've now good a definitive guide to what happened... Sorry isn't good enough unless you understand what you've actually done."

Labour leader Ed Miliband told the Commons The Sun should apologise to the families of the dead, while Labour MP Chris Bryant called on MacKenzie to apologise.

Despite MacKenzie saying the coverage was a "fundamental mistake" in 1993, he appeared to backtrack in 2006, telling a business lunch he was "not sorry then and I'm not sorry now."

"All I did wrong there was [to] tell the truth."

He has yet to make a public comment on Wednesday, despite calls for news organisations to boycott using him as a pundit unless he apologises.

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  • Graham Linehan

  • Edward Mayes

  • Ben Rogers

  • Kevin Bland

  • Helen Lewis

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  • Liverpool Echo

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  • Hillsborough

    LIVERPOOL SUPPORTERS ARE HELPED AFTER BEING CRUSHED AGAINST THE SAFETY

  • Hillsborough

    Fan in despair after the Hillsborough Disaster

  • Hillsborough Tragedy

    Fans leave the ground after the disaster

  • Liverpool v Nottingham Forest - Hillsborough

    One of the fans who came to see the semi -final between Nottingham Forest & Liverpool, is led away after surviving the disaster

  • Hillsborough Tragedy

    The injured are carried away on boards by fans who came to see a game of football

  • Hillsborough

    Fans try to get away from the crush of the crowd as they pour into the ground

  • Hillsborough papers published

    File photo dated 15/04/1989 of Liverpool fans trying to escape severe overcrowding during the FA Cup semi-final football match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at Hillsborough. The families of 96 people killed in the Hillsborough tragedy will see thousands of official documents relating to the disaster for the first time today.

  • Hillsborough papers published

    File photo dated 15/04/1989 of a Liverpool fan at Hillsborough after their FA Cup semi-final football match against Nottingham Forest. The families of 96 people killed in the Hillsborough tragedy will see thousands of official documents relating to the disaster for the first time today.

  • Hillsborough papers published

    File photo dated 22/10/11 of a banner in memory of those who died in the Hillsborough tragedy at Anfield, as the families of 96 people killed in the Hillsborough tragedy will see thousands of official documents relating to the disaster for the first time today.

  • Hillsborough papers published

    File photo dated 15/04/2011 of a Hillsborough banner at Anfield, as the families of 96 people killed in the Hillsborough tragedy will see thousands of official documents relating to the disaster for the first time today.

  • Hillsborough papers published

    File photo dated 15/4/2009 of a hans paying tribute at the Hillsborough Memorial in Liverpool. he families of 96 people killed in the Hillsborough tragedy will see thousands of official documents relating to the disaster for the first time today.

  • Liverpool Prepares For Hillsborough Disclosure Day

    LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 10: The Hillsborough memorial is covered with tributes at Anfield Stadium, the home of Liverpool Football Club on September 10, 2012 in Liverpool, England. On Wednesday relatives and friends of the 96 victims of the Hillsborough football stadium tragedy in Sheffield on 15 April 1989 will see the full disclosure of all documents relating to the disaster when they are made public at Liverpool's Anglican Cathedral. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

  • Liverpool Prepares For Hillsborough Disclosure Day

    LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 10: The Hillsborough memorial is covered with tributes at Anfield Stadium, the home of Liverpool Football Club on September 10, 2012 in Liverpool, England. On Wednesday relatives and friends of the 96 victims of the Hillsborough football stadium tragedy in Sheffield on 15 April 1989 will see the full disclosure of all documents relating to the disaster when they are made public at Liverpool's Anglican Cathedral. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

  • Hillsborough papers to be published

    The front cover of 'With Hope In Your Heart' written by 51 year old Chris Whittle who lives in Burnley.

  • Hillsborough papers published

    Hillsborough Family Support Group members during a press conference at Liverpool's Anglican Cathedral after the release of previously unpublished papers realting to the Hillsborough disaster.

  • Hillsborough papers published

    Hillsborough Family Support Group members Jenny Hicks (left) and Margaret Aspinall (right) during a press conference at Liverpool's Anglican Cathedral after the release of previously unpublished papers realting to the Hillsborough disaster.

  • Hillsborough papers published

    Hillsborough Family Support Group member Margaret Aspinall, the mother of Hillsborough victim James Aspinall, during a press conference at Liverpool's Anglican Cathedral after the release of previously unpublished papers realting to the Hillsborough disaster.

  • Hillsborough papers published

    Hillsborough Family Support Group member Trevor Hicks speaks during a press conference at Liverpool's Anglican Cathedral after the release of previously unpublished papers realting to the Hillsborough disaster.

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