WIRRAL whistleblower Martin Morton has taken part in a special conference called to discuss a new law aiming to make it a legal duty for public authorities and officials to tell the truth.

A draft bill to ensure public servants act with “candour” and do not fall prey to “institutional defensiveness” was launched last year by lawyers acting for relatives of the victims of the 1989 Hillsborough stadium tragedy.

The proposed Public Authorities Accountability Bill - known as "Hillsborough Law" - draws on lessons learned by the families during the second inquest into the 96 deaths.

That two-year-long hearing concluded fans had been unlawfully killed after damning evidence was given of failures by South Yorkshire police, the ambulance service and Sheffield Wednesday football club.

In the aftermath the families called for new laws preventing public authorities and officials from acting in their own institutional defence when it is against the public interest.

Hillsborough Law would criminalise officials who mislead the general public or media “intentionally or recklessly.”

Those who mislead court proceedings or inquiries or fail to provide witness statements could also be prosecuted.

Mr Morton turned to the Globe in 2008 after blowing the whistle on wrongdoing in Wirral's department of adult social services, where he had worked as a manager before being bullied out of his job.

He was invited to be a panel member at the Hillsborough Law Symposium event held at Liverpool University on Wednesday.

He told Globe: “I was honoured to make a minor contribution to what I hope will eventually be a major piece of legislation.

"I consider that laws such as the public interest disclosure act and misconduct in public office as they currently operate do not provide whistleblowers with the protection they need or adequate sanctions against public officials who undertake reprisals against those who speak truth to power."

Mr Morton's allegations of a "special charging policy" - whereby vulnerable council tenants were systematically ripped-off for their rent - eventually shook the local authority to its core.

At first the claims were denied by leading politicians and senior officers.

But after investigations by this newspaper they were forced to admit Mr Morton's statements were accurate and commissioned an inquiry led by consultant Anna Klonowski.

She found Wirral to be in the grip of "a corrosive culture" where the needs and rights of residents had become submerged under its "bureaucratic machinations."

She came to the damning conclusion that "the abnormal has become commonplace."

The council subsequently apologised for the way it had treated Mr Morton and repaid ripped-off tenants to the tune of several hundred thousand pounds.

Mr Morton, who turned down the offer of returning to work for council in 2014, has since completed his Master of Laws and now campaigns for public accountability and supports others who are denied access to justice.

The bill’s opening section states: “Public authorities and public servants and officials shall at all times act within their powers: (a) in the public interest, (b) with transparency, candour and frankness.

“Public authorities, public servants and officials shall be under a duty to assist court proceedings, official inquiries and investigations: relating to their own activities, or where their acts or omissions are or may be relevant.”

Following the event Wirral-born Professor Phil Scraton, a member of the Hillsborough Independent Panel and author of "Hillsborough: The Truth" spoke to a packed lecture theatre.

Professor Scraton ended his lecture by endorsing "Hillsborough Law” as a fitting legacy for the 96 and an acknowledgement of the ongoing campaign for truth, justice and accountability fought by their relatives and supporters.

The bill is being championed by former shadow home secretary Andy Burnham and it is hoped Hillsborough Law will be drafted and tabled before Parliament later this year.