A DORSET MP has defended himself from accusations that he tried to scupper an important debate about the 1989 Hillsborough disaster.

MPs are due to discuss the tragedy, in which 96 football fans lost their lives, in the House of Commons next Monday evening.

But Christchurch MP Christopher Chope, inset, came in for flak after objecting to a time limit being placed on the previous debate, about the reform of MPs’ and public sector pensions.

Steve Rotheram, MP for Walton in Liverpool, raised fears that Mr Chope’s action could lead to the pension debate overrunning, squeezing out a full discussion about Hillsborough.

Wirral South MP Alison McGovern said: “I am angry that one rogue MP has tried to trample over the feelings of families who have waited so long to get answers to questions they have had for over 22 years.”

Mr Chope dismissed the row as “a storm in a teacup”.

He said: “I objected to the idea that government should introduce a timetable on the debate about MP and public sector pensions without having a debate about the timetable. “The only way I could ensure a debate about the timetable was by objecting to it going through on the nod.

“That was interpreted by some members from Liverpool as an attempt to prevent debate about Hillsborough. It wasn’t in the least. “This whole episode underlines the atmosphere of suspicion about the disaster.”

Mr Chope added that he hoped the Hillsborough Panel, which is overseeing public disclosure of secret documents relating to the tragedy, would help remove that suspicion.

“It’s already been agreed that there should be at least a three-hour debate on Hillsborough. Nothing I’ve said or done has put that in doubt.

“This is a storm in a teacup. It will soon blow over when they realise I’ve got something to contribute to the debate.

“I’m still going to be welcome in Liverpool.”