An Independent Review in Scotland has recommended that many Scottish miners arrested and charged during the 1984/5 Miners’ Strike should be pardoned. This week the Scottish Government confirmed that it will now be introducing legislation to pardon those convicted. Labour MSP Neil Findlay has spent years campaigning with miners, their families, supporters and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) in Scotland for a review of the convictions of Scottish miners during the strike.
On 31st October 2016 the Conservative government refused to hold any kind of Orgreave inquiry. Despite efforts by Labour MPs, campaigners and the Bishop of Sheffield to meet with successive conservative Home Secretaries to discuss and deal with this further, they have refused to meet with any of us and continue to uphold the 2016 decision.
Labour MP Ian Lavery has recently tabled a parliamentary Early Day Motion calling on the government to follow the lead of Scotland and set up an independent review into policing in the whole of the UK during the dispute, with a view to issuing pardons to all of those convicted. Grahame Morris MP also presented a parliamentary petition last week in support of a public inquiry into the policing of the miners’ strike and the actions of the police at the Orgreave coking plant on 18 June 1984. The Welsh Assembly have called on the UK government to order an inquiry into Orgreave and we thank Mick Antoniw, Member of the Welsh Assembly for continuing to stand up for miners in Wales. A commitment to an Orgreave inquiry is in the Labour Party manifesto.
Kevin Horne, ex miner, Orgreave Truth and Justice campaigner (OTJC), attacked and arrested at Orgreave said:
“Halloween has a whole new meaning for us . It was the day we experienced the horror of the Tories refusing an Orgreave Inquiry. Many ex miners who are still alive are suffering from lung disease due to working down the pit. Their health is at further risk due to the covid pandemic. Many have died and many will not live to see truth and justice for the terrible abuse they received from the police during the strike. The Scottish Government are rightly legislating for a collective pardon for miners convicted in Scotland and the British government should do the same for all miners wrongfully convicted in the UK”
Kate Flannery, Secretary of the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign said:
“During the strike the conservative government tried to starve the miners back to work by denying them even a basic income. Donations of food and the setting up of food kitchens helped to sustain them. Many miners were brutalised by the police, given criminal records, worked in low paid jobs or were denied future work. Now 36 years later many see their families using food banks and their grandchildren being denied free school meals in the school holidays during a global pandemic.”
The Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign are encouraging supporters to take action to get an inquiry which is long overdue in order to obtain truth and justice for the miners who fought so hard to protect their industry, their jobs and communities.
Notes to Editors
Scottish Miners’ Review
Review Policing during the Miners’ Strike
Truth and Justice for Scottish Miners
Grahame Morris MP Parliamentary Petition
Ian Lavery MP Early Day Motion