Andy Burnham: Full story of Orgreave must be laid bare

Shadow home secretary Andy Burnham delivers his speech on the final day of the Labour Party annual conference at the Brighton Centre in Brighton, Sussex. PRESS ASSOCIATION
Shadow home secretary Andy Burnham delivers his speech on the final day of the Labour Party annual conference at the Brighton Centre in Brighton, Sussex. PRESS ASSOCIATION
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Shadow home secretary Andy Burnham has called for the ‘full story’ of the Battle of Orgreave to be laid bare.

The Labour politician, who successfully campaigned for the Hillsborough inquiry, has backed the idea of a similar probe into South Yorkshire Police’s handling of violence at Orgreave coking plant during the 1984 miners’ strike.

Speaking at the Labour party conference in Brighton, Mr Burnham also pushed for the release of papers relating to so-called Shrewsbury 24, who were arrested five months after the 1972 building workers’ strike and charged under the 1875 Conspiracy Act, with six sent to prison, including Royle Family actor Ricky Tomlinson.

The MP said: “In recent years, we have learnt more about how we were governed in the 20th Century.

“What we know isn’t good but we still don’t know it all.

“We don’t know the full extent of the collusion between senior police and press and that’s why the second inquiry recommended by Lord Leveson must go ahead.

“We won’t know the full story of Hillsborough until we know what the same police force did to the miners in the aftermath of Orgreave.

“And to understand how an anti-trade union culture developed in parts of our police in the past, we need the full story about the false convictions and imprisonment of building workers in Shrewsbury.

“I will make it my personal priority in this job to put the pieces of this jigsaw together - alongside other historical injustices we have seen - child sexual abuse and exploitation, the blacklisting of workers, the abuse of stop and search powers against black and Asian young people.”

Mr Burnham added: “No more delay - give us the full truth about Shrewsbury, give us the full truth about Orgreave, justice demands it.

“We can only build a more equal society in this century when we know about the injustices of the last.”

In the Battle of Orgreave, 95 miners were arrested at Orgreave coking plant on June 18, 1984, after clashes with police during the national Miners’ Strike.

When the cases came to court, all were abandoned when it became clear evidence provided by police was unreliable.