Government snub for Battle of Orgreave panel 'a kick in the teeth'

Government snub for Battle of Orgreave panel 'a kick in the teeth'

By Michael Upton | 05/03/2019

Government snub for Battle of Orgreave panel 'a kick in the teeth'

JUSTICE campaigners have described as a “kick in the teeth” the Government’s latest rejection of demands for a fresh investigation into the Battle of Orgreave.

The Bishop of Sheffield, Rt Revd Dr Peter Wilcox, had asked home secretary Sajid Javid to form an independent panel to review documents and other evidence relating to the mass miscarriage of justice, which saw dozens of miners wrongly prosecuted.

But the bishop’s request has been knocked back, to the dismay of ex-miners and campaigners.

Chris Hockney, chair of the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign, said: “We had high hopes that his approach would be seen as a real chance to get to the truth about what happened at Orgreave on June 18, 1984 and afterwards.

“It’s a real kick in the teeth not just for us but for all the people and institutions who Bishop Pete has approached and who, like us, believe there’s a real need to address this part of history so mining communities can get truth and justice.”

Ex-miner Kevin Horne, who was among the pickets involved in clashes with police outside the Orgreave coking plant as tensions flared at the height of the Miners’ Strike, said the decision showed the government was keen to keep details surrounding the incident hushed up.

“It is 35 years since the strike, and I think the government hopes we’ll take this to our graves,” said Kevin, of Treeton.

“If they’ve nothing to hide then they should welcome the chance offered by the bishop to have a thorough and authoritative review of what’s held on record, rather than keep trying to cover up the corruption of the past.”

The Battle of Orgreave led to the arrest of 95 miners, whose trials collapsed because of unreliable evidence.

Neither the police nor anyone from the Conservative government of the time have admitted liability for assault, wrongful arrest and malicious prosecutions, and no police officers has ever been disciplined for any offence
Previous home secretary Amber Rudd rejected calls for an independent inquiry two years ago, but campaigners accused her of failing to familiarise herself with details of their case before rejecting it.

Rotherham MP Sarah Champion wrote to Mr Javid recently asking for him to join her in meeting members of the OTJC but he rejected the request.

OTJC supporters are being encouraged  to use social media or write to Mr Javid urging him to hold an inquiry into Orgreave, something shadow home secretary Diane Abbott has promised a Labour government would set up.

The Home Office has been contacted for comment.

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