Parliament agrees Thatcher misled the public over Miners’ Strike

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MPs have accepted a motion which said Margaret Thatcher’s government “misled the public” about pit closure plans during the 1984 miners’ strike.

The motion, tabled by the Labour Party for an Opposition Day debate in the Commons, was not opposed by Government MPs when Speaker John Bercow called it to a vote.

It meant the Commons accepted the terms of the motion, which also said the Government of the day had sought to “influence police tactics”, without a division of MPs.

The claims are made on the basis of Cabinet papers released under the 30-year rule earlier this year and on which Labour MPs had previously claimed demonstrated untruths.

Cabinet papers from the 1980s released by the National Archives indicated the late Baroness Thatcher’s government had secret plans to close 75 pits and considered sending in troops to break the 1984/85 strike.

During the debate, Labour said Parliament must face up to the failures of the miners’ strike in the same way as Bloody Sunday and Hillsborough.

Then home secretary Leon Brittan was also put under significant pressure to step up police measures against striking miners while ministers were prepared to ensure magistrates’ courts dealt quickly with cases from the dispute, MPs were told.

Opening the debate, shadow cabinet office minister Michael Dugher also insisted the Government should launch an independent review into the so-called Battle of Orgreave of July 18, 1984, if the Independent Police Complaints Commission does not get “its act together”.

Mr Dugher told MPs the Cabinet papers dismissed the “nonsense assertion” from the period that ministers were neutral bystanders.

He said: “The fact is the Government of the day saw the strike very much on political terms. Far from ministers being interventionists, they were in fact the micro-managers of this dispute.”

Business Minister Matthew Hancock said Labour had 13 years in power to do all the things they were asking for, adding: “All that they will do is complain about what happened in the 1980s.”