Cyril Irvine Patnick
|Member of Parliament
for Sheffield Hallam
11 June 1987 – 1 May 1997
|Preceded by||John Osborn|
|Succeeded by||Richard Allan|
29 October 1929|
Sheffield, West Riding of Yorkshire, England
|Died||30 December 2012
Sheffield, Yorkshire, England
Life and career
The second of four sons born to Aaron Michael Patnick and Bessie (née Levin) Patnick in Sheffield, he was educated in Sheffield at the Central Technical School followed by Sheffield Polytechnic. A building contractor, Patnick entered politics as a member of Sheffield City Council in 1967 and later of South Yorkshire County Council.
He was elected as Member of Parliament for Sheffield Hallam in 1987. During his time as an MP he was a Lord Commissioner of Her Majesty's Treasury and deputy Chairman of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link Select Committee. He left politics after he lost his seat in the 1997 general election to the Liberal Democrat Richard Allan.
Patnick was on the right wing of the Conservative Party. He was against sanctions on apartheid South Africa, voted to reintroduce the death penalty, strongly supported Section 28 and, in a similar vein, opposed reducing the age of consent for homosexuals. He coined the phrase 'People's Republic of South Yorkshire' in reference to the policies of the Sheffield City Council under the direction of David Blunkett.
He was the vice-president of Sheffield’s Kingfield Synagogue, life president of Sheffield Jewish Representative Council, and a former national vice-chairman of the British Maccabi sports and youth organisation. Patnick was also the chairman of trustees of The Trust for Research into Freemasonry, a charity established to support the Centre for Research into Freemasonry and Fraternalism at the University of Sheffield.
Patnick was one of the sources for The Sun newspaper's notorious coverage of the Hillsborough disaster in April 1989. In September 2012, the publication of the report by the independent panel investigating the disaster confirmed that "the source for these despicable untruths was a Sheffield news agency reporting conversations with South Yorkshire Police and Irvine Patnick, the then MP for Sheffield Hallam." Earlier, Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie had said of his coverage: "It was a fundamental mistake. The mistake was I believed what an MP said." The Daily Express also carried the story, under the headline "Police Accuse Drunken Fans" and giving Patnick's views, saying he had told Margaret Thatcher, whilst escorting her on a tour of the grounds after the tragedy, of the "mayhem caused by drunks" and that policemen had told him that they were "hampered, harassed, punched and kicked".> But Irvine Patnick and South Yorkshire Police underestimated Thatcher's ability to detect what sounded like a hasty cover-up and cabinet papers later revealed she decided very quickly that that both had lied to her.
Following the disclosure of Patnick's role in creating what Prime Minister David Cameron called an "unjust and untrue narrative that sought to blame the fans", Labour MP John Mann wrote to Cameron asking that Patnick be stripped of his knighthood for his "shameful and disgusting behaviour." Patnick was also heavily criticised by the families of the dead, with the Hillsborough Justice Campaign stating that "It needs to be remembered that this man vilified Liverpool and was part of a lying machine which shamefully damaged the reputation of those fans."
In a statement issued through the Conservative Party on 13 September 2012, Patnick accepted "responsibility for passing such information on without asking further questions. So, many years after this tragic event, I am deeply and sincerely sorry for the part I played in adding to the pain and suffering of the victims' families."
- "Former MP Sir Irvine Patnick dies". BBC News. 31 December 2012. Retrieved 9 January 2013.
- "House of Commons beginning with "H"". Leigh Rayment's House of Commons pages. Retrieved 2009-04-10.
- Martin Wainwright Obituary: Irvine Patnick, The Guardian, 31 December 2012
- Sam Marsden "Former Tory MP Sir Irvine Patnick dies, aged 83", telegraph.co.uk, 31 December 20123
- "Sir Irvine Patnick obituary". www.guardian.com. Retrieved 2013-01-26.
- "PATNICK, Aaron Michael". british-jewry.org. Retrieved 2012-09-13.
- "Written Question: Councillor Irvine Patnick". Hansard. 31 October 1979. Retrieved 15 September 2012.
- Dysch, Marcus (13 September 2012). "Strip Patnick of knighthood says MP Mann". The Jewish Chronicle (London). Retrieved 2012-09-13.
- "The Trust for Research into Freemasonry". Charity Commission for England and Wales. 31 December 2008. Retrieved 2012-09-13.
- "Hillsborough report: Prime Minister David Cameron's statement in full". The Telegraph (London). 12 September 2012. Retrieved 2012-09-12.
- Gibson, Owen (2004-07-07). "What the Sun said 15 years ago". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-04-18.
- "Police Accuse Drunken Fans". London: The Daily Express. 19 April 1989. Retrieved 12 September 2012.
- "Hillsborough: Sir Irvine Patnick Should Lose Knighthood, Says MP". Huffington Post UK. 12 September 2012. Retrieved 2012-09-12.
- "Irvine Patnick, the Tory MP who smeared Liverpool FC fans after the Hillsborough tragedy, dies aged 83". Liverpool Echo. 31 December 2012. Retrieved 2012-12-30.
- "Sir Irvine Patnick: 'I totally accept responsibility for passing information'". ITV news. 13 September 2012. Retrieved 15 September 2012.
- Obituary: Sir Irvine Patnick, telegraph.co.uk, 31 December 2012
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Irvine Patnick
- Record in parliament, TheyWorkForYou
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
|Member of Parliament for Sheffield Hallam