Miners pardoned nearly 40 years after being convicted during strikes

Legislation has been passed on those convicted of breach of the peace, breach of bail conditions or obstructing police.

Miners pardoned nearly 40 years after being convicted during strikes STV News
Miners involved in the 1984-85 strike have been pardoned of all offences.

The Scottish Parliament has given an automatic pardon to miners nearly 40 years after being convicted of offences during the 1984-85 strike.

MSPs voted in favour of the Miners Strike (Pardons) (Scotland) Bill on Thursday, with 117 votes for and none against.

Under the plans, those convicted of breach of the peace, breach of bail conditions or obstructing police – have been pardoned.

However, a push by Labour to secure financial compensation for those affected has failed, as the amendment fell by 24 votes to 92.

The strike arose as workers took action to prevent colliery closures by Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative Government.

Justice secretary Keith Brown, speaking against the amendment, said it was for the UK Government to create such a scheme.

“My view is that any compensation should… be properly thought out, it should be uniform and it should be fair,” the Justice Secretary said.

Labour MSP Richard Leonard lodged an amendment which would instruct ministers to carry out a review of compensation options, and publish a report on the review within a year of the Bill receiving Royal Assent.

Speaking in favour of the amendment, Mr Leonard said: “The excuses for opposing this over the past few months have been manifold – they have been that employment law and industrial relations are not devolved, or that this parliament did not exist in 1984, or that this parliament is not competent, or that time is of the essence.

“But I will say this – if it is competent for this parliament to pardon the miners for what happened in 1984-85 it must be competent for this parliament to compensate the miners for what happened in 1984-85.”

Scottish Labour MSP Pam Duncan-Glancy said the Bill would send a message to workers.

“You have power and we stand with you,” she said.

“An attack on one is an attack on us all – we must always be on the side of workers.

“The Scottish Labour Party has always been and always will be on their side.”

Imploring fellow MSPs to pass the Bill, Mr Brown said: “For now, we must take the opportunity to recognise the circumstances that led to so many convictions and to say that as a parliament and as a country we want to pardon those convictions and bring some comfort and reconciliation to those involved.”