City MPs demand Birmingham Pub Bombings inquiry after 'grim milestone'

Birmingham MPs are calling upon the Government to hold an inquiry into the Pub Bombings atrocity amid the 'grim 50 year milestone.' Recalling the 21 innocent victims, they collectively requested the Home Secretary carry out a section 1 inquiry into the deadly terror attack of 1974.

Their calls come amid an ongoing campaign for "truth, justice and accountability", with many of the MPs involved for several years. With families still left with no justice five decades on, they say an inquiry is needed to finally provide answers, but also to ensure the same "could not happen again."

In the letter, which emerged tonight, the group of MPs wrote: "We, the MPs for the City of Birmingham, are writing to you to request as a collective that you hold a section 1 inquiry into The Birmingham Pub Bombings 1974 pursuant to the Inquiries Act 2005.

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"This is a campaign for truth, justice, and accountability, many of us have been involved with for many years, including the Mayor of the West Midlands Combined Authority, Andy Street.

"We must recall the names of the 21 innocent people victims murdered on the streets of our city were:

  • Neil Marsh, 16

  • Paul Anthony Davies, 17

  • John Rowlands, 46

  • Michael William Beasley, 30

  • Stanley James Bodman, 47

  • James Caddick, 56

  • John Clifford Jones, 51

  • Charles Harper Gray, 44

  • Pamela Joan Palmer, 19

  • Trevor Thrupp, 33

  • Maureen Ann Roberts, 20

  • James Craig, 34

  • Maxine Hambleton, 18

  • Jane Davis, 17

  • Lynn Bennett, 18

  • Stephen Whalley-Hunt, 21

  • Desmond Reilly, 20

  • Eugene Reilly, 23

  • Marilyn Nash, 22

  • Anne Hayes, 19

  • Thomas Chaytor, 28

It continues: "This year we will commemorate this loss of life and the terrible tragedy that happened in our city as we reach the grim milestone of 50 years passing since the atrocity. Still the families of these Birmingham citizens have been left with no justice for the loss of their loved ones, and no answers into the systematic failings and concerns surrounding how this tragedy was handled for decades after the event.

"It is our belief that this request for a section 1 statutory public inquiry is needed to, not only provide much needed truth, justice, and accountability for the families of the 21, but also to ensure learning for our state bodies that the same could not happen again.

"We in the UK, as you know, live in a near permanent state of critical terror threat and it is unacceptable that we have failed to learn or even acknowledge failings in one of the deadliest terror attacks in our country. This does not serve the families, the citizens of Birmingham, and the citizens of the UK."

Reacting to the news, Julie Hambleton, sister of Maxine and spokeswoman for the Justice4the21 campaign group, said it was "never too late" to see Birmingham MPs coming together for their constituents. She said: “We would like to thank Jess Philips MP for organising and garnering such support. The fact that we had to ask highlights our continued plight for truth, justice and accountability.

“It’s never too late to finally see Birmingham MPs coming together for those they represent, dead or alive. The only hiccup in this letter is why has Shabana Mahmood MP (Lab, Ladywood) not signed it? Surely as shadow secretary for justice she is in a prime position to highlight and openly support our plight?

“It’s great to see a number of MPs have the spine to stand up for their constituents who were murdered in what continues to be England’s biggest unsolved mass murder of 20th century.

“As can be witnessed from world events, it cannot be said that terrorist atrocities won’t happen again in the UK because it already has many times. Because of the obscene Legacy Bill they have forced through Parliament, the government seem to imply it won’t. All this will do is entice future terrorists, as it gives them the green light to kill with impunity. By implementing such a piece of legislation who is to say they won’t do the same for another set of terrorists?

“When we have politicians like David Cameron, who during his tenure as Prime Minister refused to meet our families “due to full diary”, then the following week he flies to France in solidarity for victims murdered by terrorists - may they RIP - in Paris illustrates successive UK governments contempt for families like ours.

“Cameron and his ilk swan around the world pontificating to other countries on how they ought to take care of their citizens, when the same UK politicians have no respect, dignity or integrity in looking after their own. It could happen to you or your loved ones. It happened to us. Remember Omagh bombing and Manchester Arena bombing; two atrocities of too many that could be mentioned.”

BirminghamLive has contacted MP Shabana Mahmood for a comment.