Did you really think you’d heard the last of Kelvin MacKenzie? The former Sun editor – whose reputation looks to have been irreparably damaged following the recent report into the Hillsborough disaster – has instructed lawyers to write to South Yorkshire police seeking an apology for being misled by its officers in 1989.
After 23 years, MacKenzie apologised “profusely” in the wake of the report for his scandallous follow-up story to the tragedy, infamously headlined ‘The Truth’.
But having said that he was misled, he now wants an apology from South Yorkshire police, “the people who have got away scot-free” for the “lies their officers told”.
In tomorrow’s Spectator, he addresses his role behind the headline and says it resulted in his “personal vilification for decades”.
He also complains that singling out the Sun for criticism was unfair because other publications – including the Daily Mirror – ran the same “copper-bottomed” story. However, while others printed allegations against Liverpool fans (proven to be false), he framed them as “the truth” and thus turned them into full-blow smears.
“Was [the Sun] picked out because the paper had always backed Thatcher, while the city [Liverpool] had always been pro-Labour?” he writes.
“Now I know — you know, we all know — that the fans were right. But it took 23 years, two inquiries, one inquest and research into 400,000 documents, many of which were kept secret under the 30-year no-publication rule, to discover there was a vast cover-up by South Yorkshire police about the disaster. Where does that leave me?”
The recently disclosed report into Hillsborough revealed that South Yorkshire police had committed the biggest cover-up in post-war Britain.