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Miners’ Strike 1984-85

Volume 681: debated on Thursday 1 October 2020

What discussions he has had with the Home Secretary on the establishment of a commission on the policing of the 1984-85 miners’ strike. (906885)

I am aware that this question was also put to the Home Office earlier this week. I can confirm that there are no plans to establish an independent inquiry into the policing of the miners’ strike in 1984-85 in England and Wales.

More than 11,000 UK miners were arrested during the bitter dispute of 1984-85, and I declare an interest as I was among that number. There were 6,000 put on trial and 7,000 injured, while many were blacklisted—never ever to work again—and others died with an unjust criminal record. There was an independent review in Scotland, where miners convicted in the Scottish coalfield are set to be pardoned. Justice is being served. Can the Minister say if the miners in the UK can expect a pardon from the Government, and does the Minister acknowledge that a full inquiry into the policing of the miners’ strike is the only means of justice for those miners who were the backbone of this nation?

I admire the passion and experience with which the hon. Member speaks. I will say straight off that the report produced for the Scottish Government is a matter for them. I understand that it has reported, but that is not for me to comment on.

The core point is this: since the strike of 1984-85, there have been very significant changes in the oversight of policing at every level. I am not sure that it would be worth the efforts of an inquiry to be able to make sensible comments on that, given the quantity of change, and that the focus should instead be on continuing to ensure that the policing system is the best that it can be. I can also add that all the 33 files the Home Office had held relating to that strike have now been transferred to the National Archives and that these are available for the public to review.