New Home Secretary to consider inquiry into Battle of Orgreave

The Battle of Orgeave
The Battle of Orgeave
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The new Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, is to spend the summer considering whether to order an inquiry into the Battle of Orgreave.

She said she was not going to 'rush' her decision and would consider the evidence over the summer.

Her comments come after the House of Lords was last week told the Home Office will not launch an inquiry into police actions in the clash with miners until all investigations into the Hillsborough disaster are concluded.

Some officers and police staff were involved in the aftermath of both incidents.

Around 10,000 strikers and 5,000 police officers clashed at a coking plant in Orgreave during the national miners' strike in June 1984, leaving around 120 officers and pickets injured.

A total of 95 miners were charged following the clash but their trials collapsed.

Ms Rudd said the issue of whether to order a public inquiry into the Battle of Orgreave is 'one of the most important issues' she has to deal with.

She said: "You will know that this Government has not been slow in looking at historical cases. There have been Labour governments and there have been Conservative governments since 1984, but it is this Government that is taking the campaign very seriously.

"I will not resile from that. I have told the campaign that I will look at the evidence that I have; they submitted it at the end of last year - it is a substantial file.

"It is because I take it so seriously that I am not going to rush it. It would be a mistake to do it today.

"What I am going to do is look at it over the summer and meet with the campaign group in September, and reach a decision after that.

"We take it very seriously on this side of the House and will reach a proper conclusion when I have looked at all the evidence."

Campaigners have long called for an inquiry into the incident, with South Yorkshire Police facing claims that officers used 'excessive force' against picketing miners at Orgreave and manipulated statements afterwards.

Tory former minister Sir Eric Pickles said the future of South Yorkshire Police is 'clearly linked' to Orgreave.

He said: "These allegations are historic but if you bring them all together with some more contemporary problems it seems to be a force that institutes dysfunctionality.

"Surely you now must look at the future function of South Yorkshire Police management and not shy away from any fundamental reorganisation?"

Home Secretary Ms Rudd said: "You will not be surprised to hear that we are doing exactly that."

Alec Shelbrooke, Tory MP for Elmet and Rothwell, said the South Yorkshire Police name 'now does a disservice to the honest, hard-working officers who put themselves in the front line'.

He asked Ms Rudd to consider that the 'time has come to reorganise Yorkshire policing and remove the name South Yorkshire Police'.

Ms Rudd replied: "I can tell you that there has been new leadership which has made clear commitment to address issues within South Yorkshire."