Birmingham pub bombings: Relatives to meet minister after legal aid plea

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A composite picture of the victims
Image caption,
Twenty-one people were killed in the Birmingham pub bombings. Photographs of three of the victims have never been released

Relatives of the Birmingham pub bombing victims campaigning for legal aid ahead of inquest hearings into the deaths will meet the government next month.

The Home Office is considering a funding request for the families, and they will meet Home Secretary Amber Rudd on 5 September.

Julie Hambleton, whose sister Maxine died in the 1974 attacks, said she was "hopeful" it could mean financial help.

Twenty-one people were killed when bombs exploded in two pubs in the city.

In June, Birmingham's senior coroner ruled there was evidence that still needed to be heard and gave the go-ahead for fresh inquests.

Relatives have said public money is needed to pursue the case.

Image source, PA
Image caption,
Julie Hambleton, whose sister Maxine was killed in the bombings, had led a prominent role in campaign group Justice 4 the 21

Lawyers for the families have been working free of charge so far, but say that cannot continue to do so due to the complex nature of the work needed for the inquests, particularly when all other parties' lawyers, including the police, will be funded by the taxpayer.

A pre-inquest review into the bombings is due to be held in October, and a full hearing is not expected until next year.

Mrs Hambleton said she did not know what would be discussed at the Home Office meeting in the House of Commons.

"We don't know what the agenda will be, but we're hopeful, obviously, it will be for her to tell us what decision she has made about our funding," she said.