A landmark bill has been published which will finally pardon miners convicted of certain offences in Scotland during the bitter 1984-85 strike.

It follows an independent review into the impact of policing on communities during the industrial action brought on by Margaret Thatcher's determination to break the power of the coal industry.

The review recommended SNP ministers introduce legislation to pardon miners convicted for certain matters related to the strike.

The pardon will be available to people convicted of certain offences – such as breach of the peace – and who were participating in strike action.

But the legislation does not cast doubt on decisions made by courts at the time and does not quash convictions.

Justice secretary Keith Brown said: “The miners’ strike was one of the most bitter and divisive industrial disputes in living memory.

“This new draft legislation will go some way to aid reconciliation – and to help heal wounds within Scotland’s mining communities.

“A collective pardon will restore dignity to those convicted, provide comfort to their families and, I hope, will bring closure to the sense of injustice members of mining communities may feel.

“I am determined to make swift progress on this matter, given the passage of time since 1984-85, which is why we have acted quickly to bring forward and publish this landmark new Bill.”

The Record has previously reported how a Scottish Government consultation has found overwhelming support for miners to be pardoned of criminal convictions relating to the bitter strike in the 1980s.

Nearly 90 per cent of respondents agreed breach of peace convictions should be wiped out and a similar amount backed the same move for breach of bail.

The strike pitted the miners’ union against Thatcher ’s government in 1984/85 and ended with victory for the Tory Government.

However, miners complained bitterly at the time at the behaviour of the police, including taunts and false arrests.

Miners received criminal convictions and lost their jobs, harming their future employment prospects.

As well as showing huge support for pardons for specific offences like breach of the peace, 78% of respondents backed it in cases where a miner had multiple convictions relating to the strike.

Over two thirds also agreed that miners who had been convicted of an offence before the strike began should be pardoned for offences committed during the industrial action.

In addition, 88% agreed with pardons for miners whose conviction relating to the strike resulted in a non-custodial sentence such as a fine or a community service order.

Scotland's last remaining deep coal mine at Longannet, Fife, closed in 2001 following years of aggressive cost-cutting in the industry.

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