Government challenged to apologise for conduct during miners' strike

The Northern Echo: Margaret Thatcher Margaret Thatcher

MINISTERS will today (Wednesday) be challenged in Parliament to apologise for the Government’s conduct during the miners’ strike – and warned the “scars of the dispute” remain.

Labour will also demand the release of all “interactions between the Government and the police”, amid fresh evidence that ministers sought to toughen up force tactics.

And it will call for a “proper investigation” into the brutal picket line clashes at the infamous ‘Battle of Orgreave’ – before the 30th anniversary, on June 18 this year.

North-East MPs have already demanded an independent inquiry, following the release of revelatory secret papers, under the 30-year rule, at the start of this month.

But now Labour will make that call official party policy, confronting Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude across the Commons chamber.

Michael Dugher, Labour’s Cabinet Office spokesman, announced the launch of a “justice for the coalfields” campaign, three decades after the miners’ strike.

And he said: “Far from being neutral, as was claimed at the time, it is clear the Government took a deliberately calculated political approach, guided by a complete hostility to the coalfield communities.

“Ministers may want to sweep these events under the carpet, but the scars of the dispute, and the subsequent closure programme, remain on the memories, communities and landscapes of all coalfield communities.

“They must now apologise and deliver transparency to begin to foster reconciliation with the coalfield communities.”

The call follows the evidence, in the official papers, that senior cabinet ministers “micromanaged” the 1984-85 strike - while claiming to be “innocent bystanders”.

They were revealed to be aware that Ian MacGregor, the National Coal Board (NCB) chief, was plotting to close 75 pits, at the cost of 65,000 jobs – not the 20 that ministers and the NCB claimed.

The papers showed that Margaret Thatcher considered deploying troops during the strike, by declaring a state of emergency.

And MI5 was used to put union officials suspected of smuggling suitcases full of money donated by the Soviet Union under surveillance.

The Cabinet Secretary suggested that information about any official caught with cash should be leaked, so the union would be forced to surrender it to the courts.

The ‘Battle of Orgreave’, meanwhile, has been likened to the Hillsborough scandal, because of the behaviour of the same police force, South Yorkshire.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is investigating officers for possible assault, perjury, perverting the course of justice and misconduct in a public office.

TV footage and photographs showed miners being beaten with truncheons by police, some on horses, who – the miners claimed - attacked them first.

A year later, 95 miners who had been prosecuted for alleged riot and lawful assembly were all acquitted.

Comments (14)

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5:36am Wed 29 Jan 14

Lionel1 says...

Or is it just an attempt by Labour to keep the voters sweet in the former mining communities as Miliband appears more and more to be distancing himself and the party from the unions?
Or is it just an attempt by Labour to keep the voters sweet in the former mining communities as Miliband appears more and more to be distancing himself and the party from the unions? Lionel1

6:48am Wed 29 Jan 14

darloboss says...

Iam saying nowt for now
Iam saying nowt for now darloboss

12:27pm Wed 29 Jan 14

Voice-of-reality says...

What about the miners apologising for holding the country ransom for years?
Thank goodness they were beaten and the greater needs of the wider country triumphed.
What about the miners apologising for holding the country ransom for years? Thank goodness they were beaten and the greater needs of the wider country triumphed. Voice-of-reality

3:48pm Wed 29 Jan 14

Jackaranda says...

FFS, get over it!!!
FFS, get over it!!! Jackaranda

3:49pm Wed 29 Jan 14

sineater says...

She brought the industry to a premature close,and did lasting damage to communities.
She brought the industry to a premature close,and did lasting damage to communities. sineater

4:07pm Wed 29 Jan 14

Voice-of-reality says...

It is only 'lasting' damage to the communities because of wallowing self pity and a failure to 'put their best foot forward'. In the 18th century people moved northwards for prosperity - they were prepared to 'get on their bikes' but now we have a welfare state that enables 'dead' communites to continue to exist rather than allowing the people to move to where there are real prospects. The north-east used to be at the forefront of energy production - now it just whines and refuses to retake that position by embracing fracking and nuclear.
It is only 'lasting' damage to the communities because of wallowing self pity and a failure to 'put their best foot forward'. In the 18th century people moved northwards for prosperity - they were prepared to 'get on their bikes' but now we have a welfare state that enables 'dead' communites to continue to exist rather than allowing the people to move to where there are real prospects. The north-east used to be at the forefront of energy production - now it just whines and refuses to retake that position by embracing fracking and nuclear. Voice-of-reality

6:27pm Wed 29 Jan 14

Jackaranda says...

sineater wrote:
She brought the industry to a premature close,and did lasting damage to communities.
She made this country a lot better place, and that's why she received a state send off, a tad OTT maybe!!
[quote][p][bold]sineater[/bold] wrote: She brought the industry to a premature close,and did lasting damage to communities.[/p][/quote]She made this country a lot better place, and that's why she received a state send off, a tad OTT maybe!! Jackaranda

6:56pm Wed 29 Jan 14

David Lacey says...

Good stuff VOR and Jack. You are stars.
Good stuff VOR and Jack. You are stars. David Lacey

7:18pm Wed 29 Jan 14

Longbowman666 says...

It was a bitter dispute with right and wrong on both sides. However the world has moved on and time doesn't stop. Instead of harping on about 'who's to blame for this' etc it's time that communities ceased trying to live in the past and looked to the future.

What happened, happened, and no-one can change it. What can be changed is the future, but it can't be unless the past is left where it is - learn the lessons of the past yes, but don't try to live in it.
It was a bitter dispute with right and wrong on both sides. However the world has moved on and time doesn't stop. Instead of harping on about 'who's to blame for this' etc it's time that communities ceased trying to live in the past and looked to the future. What happened, happened, and no-one can change it. What can be changed is the future, but it can't be unless the past is left where it is - learn the lessons of the past yes, but don't try to live in it. Longbowman666

10:51pm Wed 29 Jan 14

darloboss says...

now i will say my peice this bag woman did more damage to the uk than hitler could ever do. she was vile she hated the working class and poor deluded mr crazy lacey and vor would not have been good enough to lick her bum clean and now they do sad sad people open your eyes and grow a set
now i will say my peice this bag woman did more damage to the uk than hitler could ever do. she was vile she hated the working class and poor deluded mr crazy lacey and vor would not have been good enough to lick her bum clean and now they do sad sad people open your eyes and grow a set darloboss

5:35am Thu 30 Jan 14

Lionel1 says...

Longbowman666 wrote:
It was a bitter dispute with right and wrong on both sides. However the world has moved on and time doesn't stop. Instead of harping on about 'who's to blame for this' etc it's time that communities ceased trying to live in the past and looked to the future.

What happened, happened, and no-one can change it. What can be changed is the future, but it can't be unless the past is left where it is - learn the lessons of the past yes, but don't try to live in it.
I totally agree. Although communities did suffer they need to move on but in many cases have been unable to, through collective attitude more than anything else! If they want to live in the past with a hard done to attitude i say let them get on with it but stop whinging, the majority of people are tired of hearing about it....
[quote][p][bold]Longbowman666[/bold] wrote: It was a bitter dispute with right and wrong on both sides. However the world has moved on and time doesn't stop. Instead of harping on about 'who's to blame for this' etc it's time that communities ceased trying to live in the past and looked to the future. What happened, happened, and no-one can change it. What can be changed is the future, but it can't be unless the past is left where it is - learn the lessons of the past yes, but don't try to live in it.[/p][/quote]I totally agree. Although communities did suffer they need to move on but in many cases have been unable to, through collective attitude more than anything else! If they want to live in the past with a hard done to attitude i say let them get on with it but stop whinging, the majority of people are tired of hearing about it.... Lionel1

12:19pm Thu 30 Jan 14

sineater says...

I'm sure people from mining communities work at Nissan,and will work at Hitachi,but why should people forget when someone has done them down ? We still remember what Hitler did don't we?,Thatcher and all tories think the working classes are only any good for making profits for them,and if they no use they cast them aside and abuse them like the present government is doing ,calling people scroungers and wasters,it's just typical tory behaviour always has been.
I'm sure people from mining communities work at Nissan,and will work at Hitachi,but why should people forget when someone has done them down ? We still remember what Hitler did don't we?,Thatcher and all tories think the working classes are only any good for making profits for them,and if they no use they cast them aside and abuse them like the present government is doing ,calling people scroungers and wasters,it's just typical tory behaviour always has been. sineater

9:35pm Sat 22 Feb 14

edwolf88 says...

i have read some of the comment made by people who not had a clue what happend during 1984/85 strike or what it was all about.

i am no lover of Scargill or how he conducted himself before or after the strike

Today all we hear about is people on benifits and those who do not work.
Thatcher delibritly hid the fact her aim was to put 10s if not 100s of thousands of decent hard working people out of work and her only reason for doinf this was to break the union.

if Mrs T only came clean and not lied about the hit list which now been proved in the 30 year paper. not only would we have had the vote but all miners would have overwhelemly voted and supported the strike and public sympathy would have gome with the miners.

when someone here said miners been holding the country to ransom for years. All miners ever wanted before the strike was a fair wage for working in awfull conditions, not to hard to ask for. but during the strike it was not for wages not for terms and conditions, it was simply to have a job and support their famlies, just like what everybody is saying that everbody should do today.
Has for the police they should apologise, in the 80s there was a big culture of police cover ups.
the miners strike and what happend in orgrave and what happened in Hillsboruogh cannot be compaired or should it be. But the exact same corruption by the same plolice force was the same. so yes apollogies from thatcher and the police for lies and corruption should be made not to the miners but the whole country
i have read some of the comment made by people who not had a clue what happend during 1984/85 strike or what it was all about. i am no lover of Scargill or how he conducted himself before or after the strike Today all we hear about is people on benifits and those who do not work. Thatcher delibritly hid the fact her aim was to put 10s if not 100s of thousands of decent hard working people out of work and her only reason for doinf this was to break the union. if Mrs T only came clean and not lied about the hit list which now been proved in the 30 year paper. not only would we have had the vote but all miners would have overwhelemly voted and supported the strike and public sympathy would have gome with the miners. when someone here said miners been holding the country to ransom for years. All miners ever wanted before the strike was a fair wage for working in awfull conditions, not to hard to ask for. but during the strike it was not for wages not for terms and conditions, it was simply to have a job and support their famlies, just like what everybody is saying that everbody should do today. Has for the police they should apologise, in the 80s there was a big culture of police cover ups. the miners strike and what happend in orgrave and what happened in Hillsboruogh cannot be compaired or should it be. But the exact same corruption by the same plolice force was the same. so yes apollogies from thatcher and the police for lies and corruption should be made not to the miners but the whole country edwolf88

7:53pm Sun 23 Feb 14

edwolf88 says...

Voice-of-reality wrote:
What about the miners apologising for holding the country ransom for years?
Thank goodness they were beaten and the greater needs of the wider country triumphed.
yes miners were beaten but what greater needs have been achieved espesialy at the workplace since then. you talking about more workers being forced into part time employment or the introduction of zero hrs, or imigrants at the lowers end of the wage scale driving wages down even less than minimum wage, or the increase of agencies where they take a persentage of a persons wages no matter how little they already get paid.
YES WE ALL VERY LUCKY MINERS, STEELWORKERS, DOCKERS ALL LOST THEIR JOBS AND THE COUNTRY TRIUPHED,,,,,,ARE U REALY OF THIS WORLD
[quote][p][bold]Voice-of-reality[/bold] wrote: What about the miners apologising for holding the country ransom for years? Thank goodness they were beaten and the greater needs of the wider country triumphed.[/p][/quote]yes miners were beaten but what greater needs have been achieved espesialy at the workplace since then. you talking about more workers being forced into part time employment or the introduction of zero hrs, or imigrants at the lowers end of the wage scale driving wages down even less than minimum wage, or the increase of agencies where they take a persentage of a persons wages no matter how little they already get paid. YES WE ALL VERY LUCKY MINERS, STEELWORKERS, DOCKERS ALL LOST THEIR JOBS AND THE COUNTRY TRIUPHED,,,,,,ARE U REALY OF THIS WORLD edwolf88

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