Hartlepool council backs Justice for the Coalfields campaign

Justice for the Coalfields supporters at Orgreave in Yorkshire, which witnessed some of the worst conflicts.
Justice for the Coalfields supporters at Orgreave in Yorkshire, which witnessed some of the worst conflicts.
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Hartlepool Borough Council is to write to Prime Minister David Cameron calling for a public apology for the actions of Margaret Thatcher’s government during the 1980s miners strike.

Councillors backed a motion to support the national Justice for the Coalfields campaign which also demands a public inquiry into the Tory government’s use of the army and police.

Whether it is 30 years, 100 years or 300 years the injustice done during this strike has got to be recognised and got to be corrected

Councillor Stephen Thomas

Over 80 Hartlepool miners were affected by the industrial action and the town had its own solidarity group which delivered food parcels to families who could not afford to feed themselves.

Several Hartlepool councillors spoke about their own experiences of the strikes at Thursday’s full council meeting.

Councillor Jim Lindridge, who supported the picket lines, said: “I think there needs to be a public apology to all UK citizens and miners in particular for the damage inflicted on the social fabric of our society.”

Coun Carl Richardson said Easington was like “a police state” during the strikes and added: “The police and army became the political arm of the Thatcher government to take on the union movement.”

Conservative group leader Coun Ray Martin-Wells said he could not see the benefit to Hartlepool given the strike was more than 30 years ago.

But Coun Stephen Thomas said: “Whether it is 30 years, 100 years or 300 years the injustice done during this strike has got to be recognised and got to be corrected.”

Independent councillor Jonathan Brash, who put forward the motion, said: “I would pay tribute to councillors like Jim Lindridge and Stephen Thomas who put aside partisan politics and showed real leadership in their support for this motion.

“There is no statute of limitations on the truth and I was moved by many of the speakers and the passion they displayed.

“I hope that in our own small way the motion can put pressure on the Government to tell the truth to the families who still have the scars of Thatcher’s evil campaign of hate against the miners of this country.”