Great Britain

Battle of Orgreave - during miners' strikes - raised in Parliament through petition

Over three decades may have passed since the miners' strike - but the determined attempt to prevent pit closures is still being raised in Parliament in 2020.

Yesterday, a petition was presented calling for the Government to "properly" investigate the police's behaviour at Yorkshire's Orgreave coking plant on June 18, 1984.

The so-called 'Battle of Orgreave' is generally regarded as the most violent day of the year-long 1984-85 miners' strike.

Lines of police clashed with striking miners as they tried to stop lorries. At one stage, police horses were sent to charge the crowd up the field as officers followed to make arrests.

Yesterday, Graham Morris, Labour MP for Easington, in the north-east, spoke in Parliament to say: "I rise to present a petition on behalf of my constituents in Easington and others from former coalmining communities and beyond about the need for an inquiry into policing at the Orgreave coking plant on 18 June 1984."

Explaining the details of the petition, Mr Morris told the House: "The UK Government has a responsibility to investigate properly the behaviour of the police at the Orgreave coking plant miners’ strike."

He said the petition further declares that the Government "fails this responsibility" with its decision on October 31, 2016 not to order an inquiry into the policing of the strike.

Mr Morris said the document "further declares that the silence of the UK Government on this issue is irreconcilable with Scotland and Wales, where the Scottish Parliament completed its own review in February 2019 into the policing of the Miners’ Strike in Scotland and the Welsh Assembly continues to call for a review; and further declares that, until a light can be shone on the government participation and police operations during the Miners’ Strike 1984-85, and specifically on 18 June 1984 at Orgreave, this historic injustice will continue to fuel public unrest at the lack of accountability of the state."

Mr Morris said the petition concluded that the petitioners therefore "request that the House of Commons urge the Government to take into account the concerns of the petitioners and review its decision not to order an independent inquiry into the policing at the Orgreave coking plant on 18 June 1984; and to consider afresh the legal submission presented to the Home Secretary by the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign in 2015."

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