phil scraton
Professor Phil Scraton stands outside St Geroge's Hall in Liverpool in September 2016 as a banner commemorating the Hillsborough disaster hands behind Getty

Hillsborough campaigner Professor Phil Scraton has turned down an OBE in the Queen's New Year's Honours list.

The academic and author said he could not accept an honour due to "those who remained unresponsive" to families and survivors of the disaster.

He also said he felt compelled to reject an honour "tied in name to the 'British Empire'," adding that he remains "a strong critic of the historical, cultural and political contexts of imperialism and their international legacy".

Ninety-six supporters died following a crush at Hillsborough during the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest on 15 April, 1989.

In April of this year, an inquest jury concluded the fans had been unlawfully killed.

Prof Scraton, who led the Hillsborough Independent Panel's research team, said in a statement given to the BBC: "I researched Hillsborough from 1989, publishing reports, articles and the first edition of Hillsborough: The Truth in 1990.

"Until 2009, and despite compelling evidence, successive governments declined to pursue a thorough, independent review of the context, consequences and aftermath of the disaster.

"This changed as a direct result of the families' and survivors' brave, persistent campaign. It led to the Hillsborough Independent Panel, its ground-breaking findings, new inquests and their crucially significant verdicts."

Prof Scraton said he had accepted other honours and awards on previous occasions "with gratitude and humility". This included the Freedom of the City of Liverpool, the Political Studies Association's Campaigner of the Year Award and an Honorary Doctorate in Laws from the University of Liverpool.

But he added: "I headed the Panel's research team and was a consultant to the families' lawyers throughout the new inquests.

"I could not receive an honour on the recommendation of those who remained unresponsive to the determined efforts of bereaved families and survivors to secure truth and justice."

Prof Scraton acknowledged his decision "might come as a disappointment to some Hillsborough families, survivors and whoever nominated me".

He concluded: "Finally, I could not accept an honour tied in name to the 'British Empire'. In my scholarship and teaching I remain a strong critic of the historical, cultural and political contexts of imperialism and their international legacy."