Abbott promises full public inquiry as soon as the Tories fall
Orgreave victims will get justice sooner than they think as the Tories won’t last another term, shadow home secretary Diane Abbott has vowed.
Ms Abbott used Tuesday night’s Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign fringe to tear into Home Secretary Amber Rudd’s “extraordinary” decision not to hold a public inquiry into the police attack on peaceful pickets outside Orgreave coking plant 33 years ago.
Ms Rudd rejected calls for a public inquiry into the bloody Battle of Orgreave last October, saying there had been no deaths and no miscarriage of justice.
Ninety-five miners were charged with rioting after trying to defend themselves from baton-wielding police cavalry and infantry but the cases against them collapsed at trial due to unreliable police witnesses and allegations that South Yorkshire Police — which five years later oversaw the crushing to death of 96 Liverpool fans at Hillsborough — had falsified evidence.
Ms Abbott said the Home Secretary “should be ashamed at the making that statement” however said the inquiry could happen soon as there may be another general election.
“This government will not last until 2022. It is falling apart,” she stormed.
In her speech to Labour’s annual conference on Monday, Ms Abbott promised a Labour government would hold a full inquiry to uncover the truth about what happened at Orgreave.
“We finally had an inquiry into the Hillsborough tragedy thanks to the tireless campaigning of the people of Liverpool, with the support of my colleagues Andy Burnham and Steve Rotheram,” she said.
“As Labour home secretary I promise a full inquiry into Orgreave.”
Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said the events at Orgreave were a “deliberately planned attack on our class” designed to break the trade union movement and the idea that people can stand together in solidarity and win.
Mr Turner pledged Unite’s support to the campaign and told the audience that someone will pay for what happened at Orgreave.
“They should be criminally held to account,” he said.
The meeting heard how the BBC had admitted to reversing footage to show striking miners attacking police.
And solicitor Gareth Peirce, who defended many of the miners charged during the strike, said that Orgreave remained one of the greatest injustices in British history.
“What remains hidden is the key to how the government destroyed the National Union of Mineworkers and employed footsoldiers to do it.
“But who holds the key to the archives?” she asked. “The government.”