Time for the whole truth

It came as no surprise to the mining community to learn that Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her Cabinet colleagues knew a great deal more about National Coal Board plans to decimate our industry prior to the 1984 strike, than they led the country to believe.

Cabinet papers recently released under the 30-year secrecy rule revealed that Mrs Thatcher and her ministers knew that NCB chief Ian MacGregor was planning to shut down 75 pits whilst claiming that only 20 would close, and that she was prepared to send in troops to avoid defeat by striking miners after setting the police force against us.

What is shocking is that those papers were headed not to be circulated outside the private office; that no minutes should be recorded; and that this very public deception of the country was taking place whilst the government was claiming to be merely an innocent bystander in the dispute.

As a result I have asked Commons Speaker John Bercow to review government statements made during the strike and to consider a full independent inquiring into its handling of the strike, similar to the one that looked into the 1989 disaster at Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsbrough when more than 90 Liverpool fans died at an FA Cup match.

We need the truth and the whole truth about how and why Margaret Thatcher and her cabinet deliberately misled the country and was even prepared to use the armed forces to get her way and beat the mining community into submission.

I will wait to hear the Speaker’s response but I am committed to exposing the truth about the Thatcher Government’s role in deceiving the country from the Despatch Box about what it knew and did 30 years ago to crush the mining industry.