The Home Secretary has been warned by families of the Hillsborough victims not to limit an inquiry into the notorious clash between police and miners at Orgreave to a private review.
Amber Rudd is expected to announce today (Monday) whether the Government will pursue a full panel-style probe into the conduct of South Yorkshire Police during the bloody encounter in 1984.
The so-called Battle at Orgreave became one of the most infamous showdowns between pickets and police during the miners’ strike.
It is alleged by campaigners that police action on the day was excessively violent and statements were manufactured to discredit the picketers involved.
Momentum for an Orgreave inquiry has escalated since the conclusion of the two-year Hillsborough inquests, which provided a scathing assessment of the under-fire police force’s behaviour.
Barbara Jackson, secretary of the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign, said at the weekend: “We trust that Amber Rudd will announce the only right decision, namely that there must be an inquiry into what happened at Orgreave and after it. These events are too serious to let them lie.
“However we have real concerns about what sort of inquiry the Home Secretary will establish: history is littered with examples of inquiries that have disappointed, such as the ‘establishment-led’ Stuart-Smith Scrutiny into Hillsborough, which completely failed to get to the truth, and we are keen to ensure that the Home Secretary does not make similar mistakes over Orgreave”.
Yesterday relatives of those who died in the Hillsborough football stadium tragedy said electing a single judge to review the case behind closed doors would be inadequate.
Chair of the Hillsborough Family Support Group Margaret Aspinall said: “A judicial security approach would be completely unacceptable as history shows in our case that it only served to lengthen the cover-up.
“We will be watching events over the next 24 hours closely and call on everyone who has supported the Hillsborough campaign to support the Orgreave campaigners at this critical moment.
“The Hillsborough families today call on the Home Secretary to order an inquiry into Orgreave. We will never have the full truth about Hillsborough until we have the full truth about Orgreave.”
A review in 1998 into the deaths at the stadium, carried out by Lord Justice Stuart-Smith, is said to have stalled the families’ pursuit of the truth after he concluded new inquests were not warranted.
Labour MP Andy Burnham, who championed both the causes of the Hillsborough families and the miners of Orgreave, said: “There are rumours that the Government is about to offer a narrow judicial scrutiny along the same lines as that which was offered to the Hillsborough families in 1998.
“If this is true, I will make it clear to the Home Secretary in the Commons on Monday that this is unacceptable. In the case of Hillsborough, it only served to lengthen the cover-up by a further decade. If the Government is looking at a broader inquiry, it is essential that the Orgreave campaign are consulted about the membership of the panel and its terms of reference.”
He added: “The case for an inquiry is overwhelming and undeniable. In recent weeks, new evidence has emerged about excessive violence on the day itself and mass manufacture of police statements. Unless these allegations are properly investigated, it will damage trust in the Government and the police.”