MP calls for truth about Margaret Thatcher’s ‘hostility’ against miners

MP for Easington Grahame Morris
MP for Easington Grahame Morris

AN MP has demanded a public inquiry into the actions of the Thatcher Government during the 1984/85 Miner’s Strike.

Labour launched its ‘Justice for the Coalfields’ campaign after cabinet papers revealed the Thatcher Government had a secret plan to close 75 pits at the cost of 65,000 jobs.

It was also revealed the Government sought to influence police tactics to escalate the dispute and actively considered declaring a state of emergency and deploying the Army.

The campaigners want a formal apology for the actions of the Government during the time of the strike, the release of all details of the interactions between the Government and the police and all information about Government-police communications around the confrontation between police and picketing miners at Orgreave in South Yorkshire.

Grahame Morris MP said: “The scars of the Miner’s Strike have left an indelible mark on our communities and we are still living with that legacy today.

“The Thatcher Government took a deliberate cold calculated politically motivated path to provoke the strike driven by her complete hostility to the coalfield communities.

“Every resource of the state was used against miners fighting for their communities, jobs and families.

“The papers released by the National Archive under the 30-year rule show that the Thatcher Government lied to the British public, repeatedly denying they had a predetermined plan to close more than 70 pits.

“It is now apparent if we didn’t know it at the time that the Government disregarded the rule of law to achieve their political aims, politicising the police and influencing Chief Constables in their policing tactics and strategies in the process.

“While thousands of miner’s lives were ruined by false convictions, not a single police officer was prosecuted or even reprimanded for the violence and at times brutal treatment inflicted on the miners.

“Thirty years is too long to wait for justice, and we must finally have the truth, which I believe can only be achieved by an independent inquiry.”

Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude said there will be no apology as the strike was held without a ballot and those campaigning for reconciliation and transparency will have to wait to see any Cabinet papers from the time of the strike when they are released under the 30-year rule.