The cash had been used to cover legal bills run up by Mr Scargill’s International Energy and Miners Organisation (IEMO), which he set up in Paris to protect the assets of the National Union of Miners from seizure by Margaret Thatcher’s Government during the bitter dispute of the 1980s.
Some of the money went on trying to recoup a loan from the NUM to Mr Scargill’s one-time right-hand man, the union’s former chief executive, Roger Windsor. The two men fell out amid allegations that Mr Windsor had acted as a whistleblower and MI5 informant, which he denied.
The latest twist in the 30-year dispute came after a five-day hearing at the High Court in Manchester, at which Mr Scargill represented himself against the union he once controlled.
It ended with a ruling requiring his organisation to repay £70,000 to the NUM immediately, which, with costs, could take the bill above £200,000.
Judge Eyre QC also ruled that any further sums received from Mr. Windsor must also be handed over, with a possible final payout to the NUM totalling £300,000.
The judge said the case had reopened old wounds inflicted by the strike, which ultimately saw the NUM split in two.
“It was apparent that there are still high feelings about the events of the miners’ strike and their aftermath. It was apparent that Mr. Scargill remained aggrieved by the allegations which Mr. Windsor had made against him,” he said in his judgement.
John Flint, a partner in the law firm Clarke Willmott, which represented the NUM, said the union had acted “tenaciously and very honourably” in recovering money that would now benefit its remaining members.
The NUM’s current president, Chris Kitchen, called the recourse to the High Court “regrettable”. He said: “This was very difficult litigation in circumstances where for long periods the NUM has been under attack from some former members who are determined to undermine the integrity of the organisation.”
Mr Scargill was president of both the NUM and the IEMO when he began action to recover the loan paid to Mr Windsor. The transaction was later investigated as part of a contentious inquiry by Gavin Lightman QC, which the union commissioned after the strike. Judge Eyre said Mr Scargill “remained concerned to assert that his actions at that time and before had been justified and appropriate”.