MPs call for parliamentary probe into Battle of Orgreave

A cross-party group of MPs has written to Home Secretary Amber Rudd to call on her to support a parliamentary inquiry into the Battle of Orgreave.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 2nd November 2016, 7:47 am
Updated Wednesday, 16th November 2016, 4:04 pm
The Battle of Orgreave
The Battle of Orgreave

The MPs gave their backing to proposals for a House of Commons committee inquiry into the events of June 18 1984, and urged Ms Rudd to order the Home Office to co-operate fully with any such probe and release all relevant police and government documents.

Ms Rudd sparked fury in mining communities when she announced on Monday that there would be no public inquiry into the clashes between police and pickets at the Orgreave coking plant, which saw some of the most violent scenes of the 1984-85 miners' strike.

Campaigners vowed to continue their fight, telling a press conference at the National Union of Mineworkers' HQ in Barnsley: "We regard the gloves as off now on our side".

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The Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign is studying a six-page letter from the Home Secretary before deciding its next steps, although Michael Mansfield QC, who acted for some miners involved in failed prosecutions following the 1984 clash, said a judicial review was being "actively considered".

Proposals for a select committee inquiry were raised in the House of Commons on Monday by senior Conservative backbencher Sir Edward Leigh, who said it would have the power 'to interview all witnesses about matters - including advice to ministers'.

A special committee could be set up for the job, or it could be conducted by one of the cross-party panels which scrutinise Government departments, such as the Home Affairs Select Committee.

Ms Rudd described the suggestion as 'interesting', but added it was a matter for MPs to decide.

The Battle of Orgreave saw the deployment of horseback charges and baton-wielding 'snatch squads' as 6,000 police officers from around the country attempted to prevent striking miners from blocking coke deliveries.

A group of 95 individuals miners were charged with riot and violent disorder, but cases collapsed over the accuracy of police statements.