Hillsborough papers: Boris Johnson apologises over article

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Media captionBoris Johnson: "I apologised then and I apologise now"

London Mayor Boris Johnson has said he was "very, very sorry" for comments made in 2004 about Liverpool fans in the Hillsborough disaster.

He was the Spectator magazine's editor, when it carried an article which said "drunken fans" had "mindlessly tried to fight their way into the ground".

Apologising, he said he was glad a report "lays to rest the false allegation" about the fans' behaviour

The Hillsborough Families Support Group said it was "too little, too late".

Mr Johnson said: "I was very, very sorry in 2004 that the Spectator did carry an editorial that partially repeated those allegations, I apologised then and I apologise now.

"I do hope the families of the 96 victims will take some comfort from this report and that they can reach some sort of closure."

Convenient scapegoat

The Spectator article, which was not signed, was written in the wake of the death of British hostage Ken Bigley in Iraq, but went on to criticise "drunken" Liverpool fans at Hillsborough.

Mr Johnson said sorry at the time and went to Liverpool to reiterate his apology.

But Margaret Aspinall, chairwoman of the Hillsborough Families Support Group, who lost her son James, 18, in the tragedy, said: "What he has got to understand is that we were speaking the truth for 23 years and apologies have only started to come today from them because of yesterday.

"It's too little, too late.

"It's fine to apologise afterwards. They just don't want their names in any more sleaze. No, his apology doesn't mean a thing to me."

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