Hillsborough smear former MP dies

Sir Irvine Patnick was the MP for Sheffield Hallam from 1987 to 1997

Sir Irvine Patnick was the MP for Sheffield Hallam from 1987 to 1997

First published in National News © by

The former Conservative MP who helped smear Liverpool fans after the Hillsborough disaster has died, it was reported.

Sir Irvine Patnick, who was a source for a Sun story criticising the supporters' behaviour in the tragedy, died aged 83, the BBC said.

He was the MP for Sheffield Hallam from 1987 to 1997. A successful businessman before becoming an MP, he was knighted in 1994. There had been calls for him to be stripped of his knighthood since his role in The Sun's coverage of the disaster was made clear by the Hillsborough Independent Panel in September.

Amid widespread revulsion at the police cover-up which sought to shift the blame for the tragedy to the fans, Sir Irvine said in September he was "deeply and sincerely sorry" about his role. He said he had passed on police information that was "inaccurate, misleading and plain wrong".

Ninety-six Liverpool fans died in the crush at Sheffield Wednesday's stadium during the 1989 FA Cup semi-final with Nottingham Forest.

A statement, which the BBC said had been issued by his family, said: "Sir Irvine Patnick OBE, died peacefully on 30 December 2012, aged 83, in Sheffield. He was a much loved husband of Lynda and father of Suzanne and Matthew. He'll be sadly missed by his brothers and by all his family and friends."

Sir Irvine questioned the behaviour of Liverpool fans in the Commons just two days after the tragedy. He was later named by the Hillsborough Independent Panel as one of the sources who briefed journalists that those involved were "drunk and aggressive" and forced entry into the football ground, contributing to the deadly crush.

The panel found the origin of The Sun's story, along with negative coverage in other newspapers, was a Sheffield-based news agency, which had been briefed by officers from South Yorkshire Police, a local Police Federation spokesman and Sir Irvine.

Their allegations were reported by White's News Agency and were based on meetings with police officers and interviews with Sir Irvine and Paul Middup, the secretary of the South Yorkshire Police Federation.

The report stated: "Mr Patnick based his comments on a conversation with police officers on the evening of the disaster while the officers were in considerable distress." Sir Irvine later said he was "appalled" at the extent of the cover-up surrounding the disaster.

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