Truth must come out on Orgreave

Ronnie Campbell MP for Blyth Valley.
Ronnie Campbell MP for Blyth Valley.

Orgreave campaigners are going to seek a judicial review into Home Secretary Amber Rudd’s shameful refusal to hold a public inquiry into the police role in crushing the great miners’ strike.

The Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign (OTJC) has since said that “the gloves are off”.

And I will help the campaign in any way that I can.

I was not present that day in 1984 when “Maggie’s boot boys”, as they were dubbed, waded into fellow striking miners with truncheons, or ran them down with police horses. I was elsewhere on a flying picket, but we all saw police violence at first hand.

Of course, there was violence from both sides.

However, the difference was that Mrs Thatcher used the forces of law and order to enforce her own political will.

And it appeared to the miners that the judiciary colluded with that agenda.

At the Orgreave coking plant about 100 miners were arrested and charged.

Eventually each case was thrown out, but by then it was all over for the proud industry they had been fighting for.

My Labour colleague Andy Burnham was right to say in the House of Commons recently that Orgreave was one of the most divisive events in British social history.

It is also true that ex-miners and their families feel bitterly betrayed by Mrs May.

A weight of evidence has, since 1984, accumulated that suggests that the police were heavy-handed and also that they may have manufactured statements.

It has also been said that Mrs Thatcher deployed them in a blatant bid to defeat the miners.

The result was devastating to so many communities, and the truth must come out.