LABOUR HAS called for clarity over plans for an inquiry into the policing of the so-called Battle of Orgreave amid “unfair” reports that a Hillsborough-style probe has been ruled out by the Government.
Andy Burnham called on Home Secretary Amber Rudd to give campaigners a “clear decision” after The Sunday Times reported that any inquiry into the best-known clash between pickets and police in the 1984 miners’ strike may not be judge-led or public.
The Mail on Sunday suggested an inquiry had been ruled out altogether, but the reports come just days after suggestions Ms Rudd was due to appoint a lawyer next month to assess material relating to the dispute.
Mr Burnham said there was no possible justification for preventing people “knowing the truth” about the violent clashes outside the Orgreave coking plant, between Rotherham and Sheffield.
The shadow home secretary said: “The dignified and patient Orgreave campaigners deserve much better than these anonymous briefings and mixed messages coming out of the Government.
“On Wednesday, The Times said there would be an inquiry and four days later The Sunday Times says there won’t be.
“This is unfair and a clear decision needs to be communicated properly to the campaigners without delay.
“It is important to remember that Theresa May as home secretary personally invited the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign to make an official request for an inquiry.
“If she throws that back at them now, people will conclude it is for all the wrong reasons and it will not reflect well on our Prime Minister.”
Calls for an official investigation into Orgreave have gained momentum since the conclusion of the two-year Hillsborough inquests.
Campaigners say some of the thousands of officers drafted in to police the picketing used excessive violence and this was followed by the fabrication of accounts during the subsequent investigation.
Concerns have surrounded apparent similarities between South Yorkshire Police’s actions after Orgreave and the Hillsborough disaster in Sheffield five years later.
Last week a delegation from the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign (OTJC) met Ms Rudd to press the case for an inquiry and met sympathetic politicians at Westminster, including Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.