The Prime Minister and Home Secretary today expressed their gratitude to their Hillsborough adviser, the Right Reverend James Jones KBE, following his decision to stand down.
Bishop James decided to step down from his formal position after the Crown Prosecution Service announced its final charging decisions and Hillsborough matters move into the criminal proceedings stage.
He will continue to maintain a close interest in Hillsborough matters.
The Prime Minister and Home Secretary today thanked Bishop James for the significant contribution he has made to Hillsborough matters, which began with his chairmanship of the Hillsborough Independent Panel between December 2009 and September 2012.
Prime Minister Theresa May said:
Bishop James Jones has been a trusted and loyal counsel to me, the current Home Secretary and, most importantly, the Hillsborough families for many years.
He has held a vital and unwavering role in the continued search for justice through the independent panel and as an independent adviser to government.
He steps down from this position with my utmost thanks and gratitude for his work and service.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd said:
Bishop James has always provided timely, constructive and wise advice which has proved very valuable, particularly in terms of conveying the views of the bereaved families whose trust he has gained.
I am immensely grateful to Bishop James for all his work, but agree this is the right time for him to stand down as my adviser with the focus now firmly on criminal proceedings.
Bishop James was appointed as the Home Secretary’s adviser on Hillsborough by Theresa May in October 2012.
Since then he has provided advice to the Home Office on a wide range of Hillsborough-related matters during the fresh inquests and up to the charging decisions.
Bishop James also researched and wrote his report on the experiences of the Hillsborough families which the Home Office published in November 2017.
He will formally stand down on 31 March.
Going forward, the Hillsborough families will be entitled to support offered by the government-funded court-based Witness Service, which provides emotional and practical support, advice and information, regardless of whether or not they are witnesses. The Crown Prosecution Service will also keep the families informed regarding developments with trials and court hearings.