Battle of OrgreaveLabour has launched the ‘Justice for the Coalfields’ campaign to urge Conservative Ministers to begin to put right the wrongs with coalfield communities.

Local MP Andrew Gwynne has written to the Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude to call on him to release all Government information relating to the strike.

Last month, newly-released cabinet papers revealed that the Thatcher Government had a secret plan to close 75 pits at the cost of some 65,000 jobs; that the Government did seek to influence police tactics to escalate the dispute; and that they actively considered declaring a state of emergency and deploying the Army to defeat the miners and unions.

Labour is now urging Ministers to take the following action:

  • Make a formal apology for the actions of the Government during the time of the strike
  • Set out all details of the interactions between the Government and the police at the time
  • Release all information about Government-police communications around Orgreave, with a proper investigation which might go a little way to rebuild public confidence

Labour believes this must happen before the 30th Anniversary of Orgreave on June 18th this year.

On Wednesday 29th January Labour’s Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office Michael Dugher raised this in the House of Commons, challenging Francis Maude to make an apology and commit to these actions.

Andrew Gwynne MP said:

‘These new findings show that the Thatcher Government was far from honest about their involvement in the strike.

‘For those who lived through the strike and who saw the events and impact they had firsthand, the findings in the latest release of cabinet papers will not come as a surprise.

‘That is why I have written to Francis Maude calling on him to release all information relating to the Government’s involvement.’

Michael Dugher MP said:

‘Far from being neutral as was claimed at the time, it is clear that 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.’

Constituency Office Address

Town Hall, Market Street, Denton, M34 2AP

Parliamentary Office Address

House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA