Caroline Flint is backing Labour’s ‘Justice for the Coalfields’ campaign to urge Conservative Ministers to begin to put right the wrongs with coalfield communities.
Earlier this month newly-released cabinet papers revealed that the Thatcher Government had a secret plan to close 75 pits at the cost of some 65,000 jobs; that the Government did seek to influence police tactics to escalate the dispute; and that they actively considered declaring a state of emergency and deploying the Army to defeat the miners and unions.
Labour is now urging Ministers to take the following action:
• Make a formal apology for the actions of the Government during the time of the strike
• Set out all details of the interactions between the Government and the police at the time
• Release all information about Government-police communications around Orgreave, with a proper investigation which might go a little way to rebuild public confidence
Labour believes this must happen before the 30th Anniversary of Orgreave on June 18th this year.
Caroline Flint said: “It has taken 30 years for the true tactics of the Thatcher Government to be revealed. The released cabinet papers are truly shocking. It is time that David Cameron and the Government gave an apology for the abuse of power that took place. The effects of that year long strike last decades and divided families. A full apology and publishing all the papers is the least the Government can do if there is to be any justice for mining communities.”
Ms Flint joined Michael Dugher at Cabinet Office Oral Questions where the demand for justice for the Coalfields was put to Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude. Caroline Flint has written to Francis Maude demanding a Government apology and publication of the Government papers in the lead up to and during the miners’ strike.
Michael Dugher MP said: “For those of us who lived through the strike and who saw the events and impact they had firsthand, what was revealed in the cabinet papers may not come as a surprise. But it is no less shocking to consider that, far from being neutral as was claimed at the time, it is clear that the Government took a deliberately calculated political approach guided by a complete hostility to the coalfield communities.
“That is why I am calling for justice for the coalfields.
“Ministers may want to sweep these events under the carpet, but the scars of the dispute and the subsequent closure programme remain on the memories, communities and landscapes of all coalfield communities. They must now apologise and deliver transparency to begin to foster reconciliation with the coalfield communities.”