Labour hopeful wants Orgreave inquiry ordered

Owen Smith.
Owen Smith.
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Labour leadership contender Owen Smith has called for a ‘Hillsborough-style’ inquiry into police actions at Orgreave as his campaign visited South Yorkshire.

Mr Smith chose the site of the former Orgreave coking plant to deliver his latest campaign speech, with local South Yorkshire MPs Louise Haigh, Paul Blomfield, Caroline Flint, Michael Dugher and Angela Smith among the audience at the Advanced Manufacturing Park.

Mr Smith, who hopes to replace Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader, said: “It’s high time we had a full Hillsborough-style inquiry into what happened at Orgreave.”

Mr Corbyn has also previously backed calls for such an independent inquiry into the so-called Battle of Orgreave in which police and miners clashed.

Mr Smith said he understood the anger of voters which had contributed to the victory for the Brexit camp in the European Union referendum.

In his speech, he also vowed to ‘smash’ austerity by taxing the rich and improving pay levels and workers’ rights if he becomes prime minister.

Mr Smith announced plans to appoint a cabinet-level minister to deliver fair employment, end the public sector pay freeze and outlaw zero-hours contracts.

Mr Smith said the UK had become a ‘country where people feel the system is rigged against them’ as a result of austerity measures and inequality.

He said: “People in Britain are right to be furious about the inequality that exists. They are right to be angry that, eight years after the financial crash, they are still being asked to pay the price for it.”

Mr Smith said Mr Corbyn had failed to make Labour appear a ‘respected, credible Government-in-waiting’.

Mr Corbyn’s campaign said Mr Smith had backed already-announced policies. “Owen’s speech shows the leadership that Jeremy Corbyn has demonstrated in placing economic justice and fairness back at the heart of Labour politics,” a spokesman said.