An independent review of policing during the 1984/85 miners’ strike has recommended that all former miners with convictions are given pardons.
The announcement, which came on Saturday (19th September 2020), is a tremendous victory for those who have campaigned for miners’ justice for years.
The year-long strike resulted from a dispute between the mining unions and the national coal board as pits across Scotland were earmarked for closure.
The review, led by John Scott QC, has concluded that miners were punished in a “grossly excessive manner”.
The impact on miners with criminal convictions was devastating having lost their jobs in the collieries and thereafter many were blacklisted from any future work because of those convictions.
Local Scottish Labour MSP, Neil Findlay, led the calls in the Scottish Parliament for a review and for former miners with convictions to be pardoned. He has called upon the Justice Secretary, Humza Yousaf, to implement the review’s recommendations “as quickly as possible”.
Neil Findlay MSP said:
“It is fantastic news that the review has taken on board my suggestion of a pardon.
“The miners were victims of a political war waged on them by the Thatcher government.
“Many innocent people have gone to their graves with the stain of a conviction against their name now we can ensure that those who remain receive justice.
“This has been a long and emotional campaign but it shows that with determination and right on your side then historic wrongs can be righted. I urge Humza Yousaf to act quickly to take on these recommendations as quickly as possible.
“I am looking forward to this being announced in Parliament and legislation coming forward to deliver these pardons.
“I am very proud of the role I have played in achieving this result and the outstanding support from mining communities, the NUM and Thompson’s solicitors. The UK Government should take notice of this report and announce a full public inquiry into Orgreave.”