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MP wants apology over miners' strike

By Katia Harston, Chief Reporter Saturday 1st February 2014

A Barnsley MP is pushing for a Hillsborough-style inquiry into the miners' strike and wants the Conservatives to apologise for the government's action.


Michael Dugher, for Barnsley East is also the shadow justice minister, and on Wednesday launched the Justice for the Coalfields campaign in parliament, urging Conservative ministers to 'begin to put right the wrongs with coalfield communities'.


He said he was prompted to start the campaign because newly-released government papers reveal the Thatcher government had a secret plan to close 75 pits at the cost of about 65,000 jobs.


He says the papers, which were made public for the first time in 30 years, also show the government sought to influence police tactics to escalate the dispute and considered declaring a state of emergency and deploying the army to defeat the miners and unions.


Labour is now urging ministers to make a formal apology for the actions of the government during the time of the strike and to set out all details of the interactions between the government and the police at the time.


This includes a 'proper investigation' into what happened at the Orgreave coking plant, which saw the most violent clashes between miners and police in the yearlong dispute.


Mr Dugher and his party believe an investigation 'might go a little way to rebuild public confidence' and must happen before the 30th anniversary of Orgreave on June 18.


In the House of Commons on Wednesday, Mr Dugher challenged Conservative cabinet officer minister Francis Maude to make an apology and commit to these actions.


He said: "For those of us who lived through the strike and who saw the events and impact they had firsthand, what was revealed in the cabinet papers may not come as a surprise.


"But it is no less shocking to consider that, 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.


"That is why I am calling for justice for the coalfields.


"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."

CommentsClick here to add a comment...
Posted by Sensible I Sat 1st Feb 2014 at 7:59pm

What a stupid deluded idiot. Mind you he is Labour.

Posted by Steve I Sun 2nd Feb 2014 at 11:51am

People are very sentimental when they recall the miners strike,yet forget the events a decade before which was the reason for the mine's closure program,The turning off of Power and Heating to millions of homes as well as British Industry,pensioners,housewifes and childeren sat round a candle in a cold dark home,I for one had my pay cut because i only could work a work a 3 day week,The picketing outside other business where the workers had no "gripe" with they employers as reguards pay forcing them stop working and in some case's close forever,The times when candles were sold out because the miners calling for a 19% rise,The miners and union are the ones who should be apologising

Posted by Alan Browna I Sun 2nd Feb 2014 at 5:28pm

how much are you paying for gas and electric now ? . we are still importing 53 million tons of coal a year which could be mined here much cheaper and has been proved.

And look at the jobs which kids these days could have' yes I agree about the seventies power strikes but our town has never recovered fully since the pit closures. I was on strike the whole 12 months and I would do it all again today to fight for our jobs' villages' towns.

Posted by curmudgeon I Wed 5th Feb 2014 at 5:31pm

Political tokenism at its worst. What the coalfields need is investment in real jobs not apologies from people who were still at school when the events of 1984 unfolded.

Posted by Kelly Sowden I Sat 22nd Feb 2014 at 5:04pm
This comment has been deleted for breaching our site terms.
Posted by Kelly Sowden I Sat 22nd Feb 2014 at 5:14pm

We are under the foot of oppression by the government's bully boys/chums (aka the Police) but they all still insist that we are a democracy. No, the only people who have any freedom and democratic rights in our "beloved" country are those who have MONEY. I for one shed no tears over so-called Baroness Thatcher's demise in April last year, good riddance, shame Cameron didn't join her. David "Son of Thatcher" Cameron What an unbelievably selfless, cold-hearted, scheming liar he is but we shouldn't expect anything else I guess. Let's hope the North and South divide actually happens... I for one relish the thought. I am a proud Yorkshire woman and Northerner. The South is only concerned with the South after all! Cameron never cares when Northerners get flooded or lose jobs, he only cares if potential votes are hanging in the balance!!!

Posted by ian millthorpe I Sat 8th Mar 2014 at 4:27pm

I read with intrest the comments made above by steve, I,ve been a miner for over 26 years and proud to have been part of the 84/85 strike! Fighting for our right to work, not a pay rise!! Let me just remined steve that in the 74 strike the miners had to cope without power too, The power the miners provided this country with for hundreds of years that turned the wheels of industry and in return provided work for manny people, it's a pity steve's never set foot in a coal mine because maybe then he would realise why we called a strike for more pay in 74, in the 26 years i've spent in the coal mines i,ve seen men torn apart by powerful machinery, men killed by roof falls and like myself men gasping for breath because of the coal dust that distoyed their lungs through working underground to provide people like steve with years of comforts provided with the energy we risked our lives for, I support Michel's demand for a full inquiry into goverment actions but i for one do not wan't an apology, no amount of apologies can make right for all the hardship and suffering miners and their familes went through and are still going through today and all because Thatcher and the tory party wanted revenge for bringing their goverment down in 74!

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