Miners convicted during 1984-85 strike should be pardoned, says MP

Owen Thompson has called for strikers who were convicted to receive pardons under a new Act of Parliament.

UK miners convicted during 1984-85 strike should be pardoned, says MP PA Media

Miners who received criminal convictions during the 1984-1985 miners strike should be pardoned, ministers have been told.

The strike saw unionised coal miners across the UK take industrial action against the closures of pits by Government agency, the National Coal Board.

The year-long action saw violent clashes between the police and picketing mine workers.

It ended with defeat for the miners, and many former coal-working areas across the UK are still dealing with the economic impact of the strike’s fallout.

In the Commons, SNP MP Owen Thompson urged MPs to back his Miners’ Strike (Pardons) Bill, which he said would “pardon miners convicted of certain offences committed during the 1984-1985 miners’ strike”.

Using the 10-minute rule procedure, the Midlothian MP said: “A miner’s pardon would be a powerful symbolic idea of reconciliation. It would show we are prepared to put the past behind us and to move on.

“The miners’ strike of 1984-85 was one of the most bitter and divisive events in British history.

“It was a time when miners who were fighting for their jobs and their communities were met with the full force of the state.

“Thousands were arrested and many were convicted of offences such as breach of the peace, obstruction of the police, or breach of bail conditions.

“These convictions were a travesty of justice and these miners were heroes not criminals, they were fighting for their livelihoods.

“The Scottish Parliament has very helpfully already passed a law, pardoning miners who were convicted in Scotland during the strike.

“I believe now is the time for this Government to do the same for those miners in England and Wales.”

Owen Thompson has called for convicted miners to be pardoned.PA Media

The Scottish Parliament passed its Miners’ Strike (Pardons) (Scotland) Bill unanimously in June 2022.

“It is never too late, and by following the lead of the Scottish Government, healing can start today for other parts of these isles,” Thompson said.

The Scottish MP said that if ministers were to ever “look beyond” pardoning miners towards compensation, then forgiving their convictions would be needed as a first step.

He also said a UK-wide pardon would help Scottish miners who now lived in England and Wales and were not covered by the Scottish law’s remit.

The SNP MP went on: “But beyond that, it is a matter of justice. The miners deserve to have their convictions wiped away, deserve to be remembered as the heroes they were in their communities.”

MPs are expected to consider the Bill again on Friday January 19, but it will be unlikely to progress through Parliament without the Government’s support.

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