Ministers face second grilling in urgent debate on inquiry rejection

The Battle of Orgreave
The Battle of Orgreave
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The Home Office has been forced to defend its controversial decision on Orgreave for a second day running, following an emotionally-charged debate in the Commons.

Prompted by an urgent question from Labour MP Andy Burnham, yesterday’s exchange saw fresh accusations of “betrayal” from the opposition benches.

MPs also expressed anger at the Home Secretary’s absence from the chamber, as policing Minister Brandon Lewis took questions in her place.

But the department stood by its decision, repeating claims that an inquiry was not in the public interest.

Opening the debate, Mr Burnham focused on the Government’s apparent support for an inquiry prior to Monday’s announcement. He argued it was “utterly cruel” for Ministers to give campaigners “false hope”, and demanded to know more about Amber Rudd’s “decision-making process”.

“We left the meeting [in September] with the clear impression that it was not a question of whether there would be an inquiry, but of what form the inquiry would take,” he said. “Yesterday, we were hit with a bombshell.”

The Sheffield Heeley MP Louise Haigh questioned Mrs Rudd’s certainty in claiming “that there is no link with Hillsborough [and] no lessons to be learnt”. Doncaster MP Ed Miliband criticised the suggestion that too much time had passed for an inquiry to be useful.

Responding, Mr Lewis maintained that the Home Secretary had made the correct decision. He said a review would not be in the public interest and that focus should remain on modern-day policing practices.