Urban Echo News 

Galloway calls for new Bradford City fire inquiry

Bradford – The questions raised in a new book about the Bradford fire must be answered and the only way to do that is through a new inquiry, George Galloway said today.

“We’re in an election period and I am acutely aware that accusations of seeking advantage can be raised so I am calling on all candidates, present and former councillors and Members of Parliament, fans groups and fans, anyone who has an interest to come together to agree that the issues raised must be answered,” he said, “and the only way to do that is through a new inquiry, perhaps through a judicial review. The initial inquiry was cursory to say the least and while I am not pre-judging its conclusions the recent comments by the man who led the inquiry, Sir Oliver Popplewell, leave me with deep anxiety.”

Bradford City Football Club Fire Disaster 11 May 1985 Fifty six people dieGalloway said that he had not wished to become involved while the election was running but that Popplewell’s comments to the BBC Today programme had led him to conclude that the only way to answer doubts was to review the evidence. “Sir Oliver said that these doubts were nonsense, which is an extraordinary statement to make. He then said that Stafford Hegginbotham, the club owner, who, it’s implied in the book might have been responsible for arson, had absolutely no motive because the stand was about to be knocked down and had no insurance value. Well, it appears that this is nonsense and that Hegginbotham, or the club, did receive £500,000 in an insurance payout and a further £375,000 in grants. If he did get that wrong what else did he get wrong?”

George Galloway
George Galloway

The Bradford West MP continued: “I cannot imagine the hurt that Martin Fletcher, the author of the book, and the families of the 56 who died went through and I appreciate that having this raised again after almost 30 years is deeply, deeply traumatic. Clearly the publishers and the Guardian newspaper, who are serialising it, are using the anniversary peg to market and sell the book and make capital, which is distasteful. But Fletcher has uncovered a history, a litany of similar fires, eight of them, and insurance payouts, a quite unbelievable concatenation of coincidence, which must raise the suspicion of arson and whether this tragedy was another one. Hegginbotham is not here to answer. I would hope that his family, painful as it might be, would welcome a new inquiry which could answer these suspicions.”

Galloway pointed out that the original inquiry lasted only five days, and was in linked with the death of a Leeds’ fan. “Hardly exhaustive,” he said. “And the behaviour of the police force next door over the Hillsborough disaster certainly raises questions about whether the police here properly examined the evidence. This has to be put to rest, for the victims, their families and everyone who is now under a cloud as a result of Fletcher’s revelations. I hope that we can unite and an inquiry is the only was to do so.”

Share the joy
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Related posts

Leave a Comment