Miners step up calls for apology over strike ‘lies’

DAVE HOPPER ... seeking justice for former coalfields.
DAVE HOPPER ... seeking justice for former coalfields.

MINERS’ leaders from the North East will lobby Parliament today as they demand recognition of how their industry was undermined by Margaret Thatcher’s government.

They will also call for more investment in former coalfield areas.

The Durham Miners’ Association (DMA) banner will join those of the National Union of Mineworkers and its Yorkshire branch outside the House of Commons as a debate is listed for discussion.

The motion calls on MPs to acknowledge the recent release of 1984 cabinet papers revealing that the government at the time misled the public about the extent of its pit closure plans and sought to influence police tactics during the year-long miners’ strike.

It will also seek recognition of the economic legacy of the pit closure programme in coalfield communities across the UK and back continued regeneration and support for mining communities as part of a wider programme to boost growth in the regions.

Move

The move follows the Labour Party’s calls for an apology from Conservative ministers for what it says were lies by Margaret Thatcher’s government over the secret mine closure plans and proposals to deploy the Army to deal with strikers, as revealed in released papers.

Labour has previously called on ministers to set out all interactions between the Government and police at the time of the 1984 and 1985 strike, information on communications between the police and Government during action at the British Steel coking plant in Orgreave, South Yorkshire.

Dave Hopper, general secretary of the DMA, said: “Recently-released cabinet papers from the Thatcher years confirmed that the government at the time not only misled the public about the extent of the pit closure programme, but that it also sought to influence police tactics during the strike.

“It is only right that Parliament recognises just how badly ministers at the time treated the coalfield communities and acknowledges the full scale of the economic legacy of the pit closure programme. The problems in the former coalfields are horrendous.

“As well as this, we still need a proper investigation into Orgreave and full transparency over all government communications with the police at the time of the strike.

“It’s time now to get to the truth and for there to be justice for the coalfields.”