Home Secretary’s Orgreave probe decision ‘should be soon’, say campaigners

Barbara Jackson, Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign.
Barbara Jackson, Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign.
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Orgreave campaigners say they expect new Home Secretary Amber Rudd to have made a decision about whether a public inquiry into the scandal will be ordered when they meet her for the first time next week.

Members of the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign (OJTC), who in December presented a legal submission to previous Home Secretary Theresa May calling for an inquiry, are due to meet Ms Rudd on Tuesday.

Police officers at Orgreave

Police officers at Orgreave

Prior to the meeting in London, the group will meet outside Parliament at the Old Palace Yard Square with MPs and members of the House of Lords.

In a statement today, its leaders said a deputation would reinforce the case for a new probe into the clashes between police and striking miners in South Yorkshire and are “expecting Amber Rudd to have reached a positive decision about ordering a public inquiry”.

Calls for a new inquiry into the 1984 Battle of Orgreave have been growing since The Yorkshire Post published details of previously censored documents revealing links between an alleged cover-up carried out by senior South Yorkshire Police officers at the time and the force’s actions five years later at Hillsborough.

Ninety-five miners were arrested at the Orgreave coking plant, near Rotherham, after clashes with police which left 50 people injured. When the cases came to court, all were abandoned after it became clear that evidence provided by police was unreliable.

This summer, the Home Secretary promised she would be looking at the case before meeting with the campaigners in September and making a decision as soon as possible after that.

Her announcement came after Government minister Lord Keen appeared to play down the prospects of a decision being taken soon, suggesting a police wartchdog had warned such an inquiry could conflict with its own ongoing investigation into the Hillsborough disaster.

OTJC Secretary Barbara Jackson said: “The previous Home Secretary and the current Home Secretary have had ample time to read through and consider our legal submission. A response was expected by March this year. We are therefore hopeful that an inquiry decision is imminent.”

In recent weeks, the group has stepped up its publicity campaign calling for an inquiry, using public meetings, social media and public events.