Doncaster councillor hits out at claims Orgreave inquiry was shelved because it would ‘tarnish the legacy of Margaret Thatcher’

A Doncaster councillor has criticised revelations that an inquiry into the Battle of Orgreave during the Miners Strike was allegedly shelved by Tory ministers because it would ‘slur the memory’ of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

Monday, 11th October 2021, 5:54 pm
The late former Prime Minister Baroness Margaret Thatcher

Former miners, including many from Doncaster, have spent decades demanding an inquiry into police conduct at the infamous clash at the height of the strike in the summer of 1984.

Mounted officers rode on horseback and charged with batons at picket lines who were trying to prevent striking miners blocking deliveries to the coking plant on the Sheffield/Rotherham boundary.

South Yorkshire Police were heavily criticised and 95 miners were charged with riot and violent disorders but their cases were dropped around questions about the reliability of police evidence.

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Former miners demanded a probe to look at how South Yorkshire Police behaved before, during and after the 1984 clash.

In 2016, then Home Secretary Amber Rudd rejected a formal inquiry and said there was ‘not sufficient basis for a review’.

But in a book by Sasha Swire, the wife of Tory MP Hugo, claimed the real reason the inquiry was scrapped was because it would ‘slur the memory of Thatcher’. She said that Ms Rudd had told her so over a meal.

In the book detailing Amber Rudd’s promotion by former PM Theresa May to Home Secretary, it reads: “Amber’s immediate concern is the number of potential inquiries that need decisions on whether they go ahead. Most of them she inherited from her predecessor, who kicked them into the long grass.

“Orgreave would slur the memory of Thatcher and the party won’t like it.”

The claims have been criticised by Doncaster Labour councillor Nigel Ball.

He said: “It’s not surprising that the injustice and crimes committed at Orgreave have still not been addressed or given a public enquiry.

“The Tories are content to sweep these things under the carpet whilst at the same time uttering ‘move along please, nothing to see here’ to the people of Britain and in particular those miners who took part in the struggle to fight for their communities and defend their jobs.

“In reality, they owe it to our mining communities to do the right thing and offer some closure as to what went off during the summer days of 1984. Unfortunately we are not likely to see this.”

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In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Liam Hoden, editor.