Sheffield Bishop’s efforts to set up Orgreave Independent Panel – Rejected by Home Office

Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign Media Release

Sheffield Bishop’s efforts to set up Orgreave Independent Panel – Rejected by Home Office

As we approach the 35th Anniversary of the the beginning of the Miners’ Strike The Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign have learned that the Home Secretary has rejected an offer by the Bishop of Sheffield to set up an Orgreave independent panel. The Rt Revd Dr Peter Wilcox argued that there was strong evidence to suggest that such a review, commissioned by the Home Office, would be of real public benefit.

“We had high hopes that his approach would be seen as a real chance to get to the truth about what happened at Orgreave on 18 June 1984 and afterwards,” said Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign Chair Chris Hockney.

“It’s a real kick in the teeth not just for us but for all the people and institutions who Bishop Pete has approached and who, like us, believe there’s a real need to address this part of history so mining communities can get truth and justice.”

The so-called ‘Battle of Orgreave’ at the South Yorkshire coking plant during the 12-month miners’ strike led to the arrest of 95 miners who were charged on fabricated police statements, only for their trials to collapse because of unreliable evidence.

Neither the police nor the Conservative government have admitted liability for assault, wrongful arrest and malicious prosecutions, and not one officer has ever been disciplined for any offence.

Campaigners have been pushing for Home Secretary Sajid Javid to review their call for an independent inquiry after accusing his predecessor Amber Rudd of failing to familiarise herself with details of their case before rejecting it.

They include former miner Kevin Horne, one of those arrested at Orgreave who has spoken out about his ordeal.  “It is 35 years since the strike, and I think the government hopes we’ll take this to our graves.

“If they’ve nothing to hide then they should welcome the chance offered by the Bishop to have a thorough and authoritative review of what’s held on record, rather than keep trying to cover up the corruption of the past.”

Rotherham MP, Sarah Champion also recently contacted Sajid Javid to request a meeting with him and the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign. This request was also rebuffed by the Home Secretary.

Supporters are being encouraged  to use social media or write to Sajid Javid urging him to hold an Orgreave Inquiry  –  something Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott has promised should Labour be elected to power.

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Notes to editors:

Contact Sajid Javid

Email: public.enquiries@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

Tweet Sajid Javid, Home Secretary:  @sajidjavid and @ukhomeoffice and demand Justice For Orgreave using the hashtag #orgreavejustice in your Tweet

OTJC Web Links

https://otjc.org.uk

Statement from The Rt Revd Dr Peter Wilcox

A statement from the Bishop of Sheffield regarding an Independent Panel for Orgreave.

It has been evident to me ever since I took up my role in September 2017 that there would be considerable support in this Diocese, and real public benefit, if some means could be found to enable an independent review of the archives, held nationally, relating to events at Orgreave in 1984 and their aftermath.  My conversations have convinced me of the pastoral need to address this part of our history, to enable people and institutions to move on.

The argument for a statutory public enquiry in relation to Orgreave is strong and although the Home Office has ruled out this option, many local stakeholders remain committed to it.  In this context, I am convinced that an Independent Panel would serve the public interest by securing maximum possible disclosure of relevant documentation and explaining what the documents reveal.  Such a process would have considerable support in this region.

I recently outlined to the Home Office the case for such an Independent Panel for Orgreave.  So far that case has not been accepted.  However, I remain convinced of the need for a formal process and will continue discussions to that end in this Diocese.  I remain hopeful that progress can yet be made and I remain ready to assist in whatever way I can, whenever the time is right.”

The Rt Revd Dr Pete Wilcox

Bishop of Sheffield