Covid-19: Birmingham pub bombing memorial fines 'morally wrong' say MPs

Credit: ITV News

Two West Midlands MPs have called the issuing of fixed penalty notices to campaigners attending a memorial to the Birmingham pub bombings as "morally wrong”.

Julie Hambleton whose sister died in the November 1974 attack and five others were given fines for joining the motorcade through Birmingham, on November 21 last year.

Nicola Richards, MP for West Bromwich East, and Gary Sambrook, MP for Birmingham Northfield wrote to West Midlands chief constable Sir Dave Thompson on Friday.

West Midlands Police has been contacted for a response.

They said: "It is deeply concerning and morally wrong to fine the victim's families of a terrorist attack who are campaigning for justice. While mass protests have been allowed to go unchecked through our city throughout the year."

This is an inconsistent approach and from the outside incredibly bias. We hope you and the force reconsider this policy. And take note to our outrage and dissatisfaction in how the police have handled this.

Nicola Richards, MP for West Bromwich East, and Gary Sambrook, MP for Birmingham Northfield

While Miss Hambleton did get out of her vehicle outside Lloyd House, she said it was only to briefly thank people and wish them well for their journeys home - and she said she remained socially distanced.

The aftermath of the bombing, which happened more than 44 years ago. Credit: PA

Miss Hambleton said the decision to fine her and the campaign's supporters was "crass".

She added: "It epitomises the sheer contempt for us that we feel senior management at West Midlands Police has for the victims' families."

"If I pay the fine, it would be like stamping on Maxine's memory and the memories of all those who died."

Julie Hambleton, who lost her sister Maxine Hambleton in the 1974 attack Credit: Jacob King/PA

Miss Hambleton said: "The convoy was not disruptive and we worked with the police to make sure it wasn't and complied with Covid rules."

The force previously said, "following a review, the people present were found to be in breach of regulation nine of coronavirus legislation. This relates to gatherings of more than two people in a public place".