John backs ‘Justice for Coalfields’

John Healey is supporting 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 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.

The MP has joined calls for Ministers to:

• 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

Labour is calling for this to happen before the 30th anniversary of Orgreave on June 18th this year.

Mr Healey said: “Scars of the miners’ strike still run deep in our area, and many families have never fully recovered.

“For those who lived through the strike and saw the events and impact they had firsthand, what was in the cabinet papers may not have come as a big surprise.

“But it is still shocking to see proof that the Government took a calculated approach guided by complete hostility to our coalfield communities.

“Ministers shouldn’t be able to sweep these events under the carpet.

“People in South Yorkshire deserve an apology and transparency, to begin to help heal wounds that still run deep.”

Yesterday Labour’s Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office, Michael Dugher, challenged Francis Maude in the House of Commons to make an apology and commit to these actions. Mr Maude and, later, David Cameron both refused to apologise.