Richard Leonard has renewed calls for an inquiry into the policing of the 1984-85 miners strike - vowing support for the community to hold a public-led inquiry if the Scottish Government continues it's delay in seeing that justice is done.
Approaching the anniversary of a meeting with Labour MSPs, former miners and mining representatives with the SNP Cabinet Secretary for Justice, a joint letter written to Michael Matheson condemns his and the SNP Scottish Government's silence on the issue since the meeting and urging them to hold an inquiry.
Scottish Labour leadership candidate, Richard Leonard said:
"How long do they have to wait for justice to be done - the SNP Government has left people waiting so long that there are now miners going to their graves without this issue being resolved. This is not right. The Scottish Government should immediately initiate an inquiry into the policing of the 1984-85 miners strike.
"But let me be clear, if they continue to refuse to act, as Scottish Labour leader I would act by working with our former mining communities to support a public-led inquiry. All of us, not least those members of the National Union of Mineworkers and their families deserve answers about what happened during that brutal period in our recent history. And we need reassurances from Police Scotland that the type of politicised policing we saw during the 84/85 strike can never happen again."
Dear Michael Matheson, Cabinet Secretary for Justice,
It is fast approaching the first anniversary of my colleague Neil Findlay MSP leading a delegation to meet with you to urge you to initiate an inquiry into the policing of the 1984-85 miners strike in Scotland. The strike had an impact across the whole country with some of biggest mass arrests of the whole dispute taking place here, most notably at Hunterston Power Station in North Ayrshire and the Ravenscraig steel plant in Lanarkshire - where in one day alone 292 people were arrested.
The wounds and scars from this historic injustice still run deep through whole communities but are most painfully felt in the families affected, many of whom have been left with lasting financial and emotional scars.
The initial optimism following last December’s meeting has since been met with a stony silence from the Scottish Government. Indeed the lack of any follow up action is worryingly similar to the inaction of the Home Secretary Amber Rudd over Orgreave.
We are writing to express our disappointment on behalf of the communities we represent at the lack of progress. These injustices will not go away and cannot be swept under the carpet.
The miners, their families and communities deserve to know what went on during this tumultuous period. We urge you to instruct a full independent public inquiry without any further delay.
Richard Leonard MSP
Signed jointly by:
Neil Findlay MSP
Willie Doolan Cllr & Former Miner
Nicky Wilson, President of the NUM
Danielle Rowley MP
Paul Sweeney MP
Claudia Beamish MSP
Elaine Smith MSP