Last Saturday’s Guardian Review section carried a review by Andy Beckett of Adrian Tempany’s new book “And the Sun Shines Now” about football since the Hillsborough disaster.  It was an excellent review of a book I can’t wait to read over the summer.  There was however one detail that Andy got wrong.  It’s a mistake that others have made before but it is important and it needs to be corrected.  I wrote a letter to the Guardian but as far as I can tell they have neither published the letter nor printed a correction to the review.  So here is the letter I wrote:-

“In his otherwise excellent review of this important new book on the Hillsborough Disaster, Andy Beckett makes an unfortunate but important error in describing Irvine Patnick as “the Hillsborough area’s MP”.  Patnick was not the local MP. He was instead MP for a neighbouring constituency in Hallam.  The error suggests that Patnick’s presence on the evening of the disaster at the police facility at Niagara Sports ground had a legitimacy that is does not deserve.  This was not the local constituency MP offering his support – he managed to completely ignore the families who gathered near the ground that evening  – this was the local Tory MP choosing to offer his support to the police force responsible for the disaster. Patnick used the opportunity to gather many of the more lurid accounts from police officers and he was largely responsible for helping to publicise many of the worst lies and calumnies heaped on the Liverpool fans, including in the notorious article later that week in The Sun.   As one of the barristers who represented 22 of the families at the recently concluded Inquests I hope you will correct this error.”

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