Bishop James Jones given freedom of Liverpool for Hillsborough work

Bishop James Jones Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Bishop Jones said the honour is a permanent reminder of the way the Hillsborough families fought for justice

The bishop who was a key figure in the campaign to uncover the truth about the Hillsborough disaster is to receive the Freedom of Liverpool.

Bishop James Jones chaired the Hillsborough Independent Panel, whose report led to the quashing of the 1989 tragedy's inquest verdicts.

The cleric will be honoured later at a ceremony in the city.

Bishop Jones, 68, was made Knight Commander last year for his services to the Hillsborough Inquiry.

He is now adviser to the Home Secretary on Hillsborough.

Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Councillor Roz Gladden, said the bishop had been "a towering figure in Liverpool life for almost two decades", and had spoken up on behalf of those with no voice.

Image copyright Google
Image caption The bishop chaired The Hillsborough Independent Panel

"We all owe him a huge debt of gratitude for his work leading the Church of England in the city and latterly chairing the Hillsborough Independent Panel, which shed light on what really happened during and after the disaster," she said.

Bishop Jones, who served as Bishop of Liverpool from 1998 to 2013, said the city had never wavered in its support for the Hillsborough families.

"To become a freeman of this city is a permanent reminder to me of the way the families have fought and been vindicated in their struggle for truth, justice and accountability," he said.

As chair of the Hillsborough Independent Panel he supervised the disclosure of documents relating to the 1989 disaster, which resulted in the deaths of 96 people attending the Liverpool v Nottingham Forest FA Cup Semi-Final.

The panel's report led to the quashing of the original inquest into the tragedy and the opening of fresh inquests, which concluded in 2016 the fans were unlawfully killed.

Last year the council gave a posthumous Freedom of the City to the disaster's 96 victims as well Professor Phil Scraton, who led the Hillsborough Independent Panel's research team, and Kenny and Marina Dalglish - who represented the football club at the time.

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