Hunt says sorry for Hillsborough slur

The Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has apologised after apparently suggesting that crowd unrest was responsible for the Hillsborough disaster in which 96 Liverpool football fans died.

He said he was sorry if his words caused any offence to supporters and the families of those killed in the incident in April 1989.

Mr Hunt made his remark in an interview in which he was answering questions about England's poor performance in the World Cup.

He was quoted as saying that he was "incredibly encouraged by the example set by the England fans.

"I mean, not a single arrest for a football-related offense, and the terrible problems that we had in Heysel and Hillsborough in the 1980s seem now to be behind us''.

In a statement Mr Hunt said: "I know that fan unrest played no part in the terrible events of April 1989 and I apologise to Liverpool fans and the families of those killed and injured in the Hillsborough disaster if my comments caused any offence.''

Mr Hunt was said to be "horrified'' at the way his words came out during an interview he gave while attending an event to launch a schools sports competition linked to the 2012 London Olympics.

He tried to contact Trevor Hicks, the chairman of the Hillsborough Families Support Group, to express his regret for what he said.

The Labour MP who held the same position before the General Election, Andy Burnham, this afternoon said on Twitter that the apology hasn't gone far enough: "How sad 2 hear Cab Min echo old slurs on Hboro. Need more than apology - he must give full support 2 discl panel. Full truth & nothing less."

The 96 fans died and hundreds more were injured when a lethal crush developed in the Leppings Lane end of Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough stadium during an FA Cup semi-final match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest.

The official inquiry into the disaster led by Lord Chief Justice Taylor found that the main cause was a failure of police crowd control.