Midlothian MP increases pressure for a UK inquiry into the miners strikes

Midlothian MP Owen Thompson increased the pressure for a UK wide public inquiry into the policing of the miners strikes of 1984-85 in a debate in the House of Commons last week.

The debate followed on from the passing of legislation in the Scottish Parliament which pardoned former miners from unfair convictions related to strike action in the 1980s.

Responding to the debate, the Minister for Crime and Policing Kit Malthouse indicated the UK Government still has no plans to establish a public inquiry.

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Mr Thompson (SNP) said: "It is hard to believe there has still not been a UK wide public inquiry to learn lessons from the appalling scenes witnessed at the picket lines during the miners strike in the 80s.

A picket gets his head between two policeman to shout at a fellow miner outside Bilston Glen colliery during the industrial action of March 1984.

"The miners strike is a part of our history which continues to shape communities such as Midlothian to this day. I was overwhelmed by the response from Midlothian residents when I put out the call for their stories and experiences before this debate. Bilston Glen at my home town of Loanhead saw mass picketing and some of the most bitter conflicts of the strike in Scotland, and the sense of injustice remains raw.

“The call for an inquiry is not about a grievance, nor dwelling in the past. It is about the future and recognising that we need to heal the wounds of the past in order to move forward. Do we learn from injustice or would we do it all again given the chance?

"The Scottish Government recognised the scale of the injustice and set up a review in 2018, leading to the Miners’ Strike Pardon Bill which I'm pleased to say has passed in the Scottish Parliament with unanimous support. The UK Government must now play its part in helping bring long overdue closure, reconciliation and possible compensation for those who suffered financially for decades as a result.

"We finally need to answer those burning questions about what happened, including the crucial issue of trade union relations and the allegations of political interference by the UK Government.

Midlothian MP Owen Thompson spoke at last week's debate.

"I was deeply disappointed by the Minster's response - despite the convincing case put forward by MPs from across the UK, the Government is still not listening."