ORGREAVE: Disgust at decision not to hold inquiry into South Yorkshire battle

The Battle of Orgreave.
The Battle of Orgreave.
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Politicians and campaigners have expressed their shock and disgust after the Government announced there will be no inquiry into Orgreave.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd announced today that there will be no statutory inquiry or independent review into notorious clash between police and striking miners at Orgreave, near Rotherham, in 1984.

She said she made the ‘difficult decision’ because ‘there were no deaths or wrongful convictions’ resulting from the clash.

In the wake of the decision, politicians, campaigners and civic leaders have turned on Ms Rudd – united in their disgust.

South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Dr Alan Billings, said he was ‘deeply disappointed and dismayed’ at the decision as ‘the former miners and their families deserved to know the truth’.

Nick Clegg, MP for Sheffield Hallam, said that questions had been raised about the ‘personalities and culture of South Yorkshire Police during that era’ following the Hillsborough disaster inquests.

He said: “These questions are contributing to undermining public trust in South Yorkshire Police... Amber Rudd is wrong to not allow those questions to be answered.”

Barbara Jackson, of the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign, said: “This decision is deeply disappointing and absolutely unacceptable... We are determined people and the OTJC will continue to build wide support for a full, independent public inquiry. We will not give up.”

South Yorkshire MPs John Healey and Kevin Barron said in a joint statement that the decision was a ‘betrayal of the families that have campaigned so long for justice’.

Amber Rudd acknowledged her decision would be a ‘significant disappointment’ to campaigners, which had for a full public inquiry into South Yorkshire Police’s conduct during the clashes.

In a written ministerial statement, she said: “This has been a difficult decision to make, and one which I have thought about very carefully.

“I have now concluded that there is not a sufficient basis for me to instigate either a statutory inquiry or an independent review... ultimately there were no deaths or wrongful convictions.

“Campaigners say that, had the consequences of the events at Orgreave been addressed properly at the time, the tragic events at Hillsborough would never have happened... That is not a conclusion which I believe can be reached with any certainty.”

The South Yorkshire ‘battle’ became one of the most infamous showdowns between pickets and police during national miners’ strike. It is alleged by campaigners police action on the day was heavy handed and statements were manufactured to discredit those involved.