Orgreave campaigners to up legal action pressure at palace summit

CAMPAIGNERS pressing for a full public enquiry or a Hillsborough-style independent panel into the events of the infamous 1984 Battle of Orgreave will step up their call for action at a Westminster summit today.

The Battle of Orgreave.

Members of the Orgreave Truth and Justice campaign have been invited to appear, with campaigners from different groups, at a Campaigning for Justice Conference organised by Shadow Home Secretary Andy Burnham. The MP is co-hosting the event at Westminster Palace alongside Shadow Culture Media and Sport Secretary, Maria Eagle, and Baroness Doreen Lawrence.

The Orgreave campaign’s secretary, Barbara Jackson, has been invited to talk about the group’s legal submission to the Home Office which includes testimonial from miners and their families involved in the clashes between striking pit workers and South Yorkshire Police.

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The legal bid was launched last year after the Independent Police Complaints Commission said it would “not be in the public interest” for it to conduct a full investigation into claims police used excessive force against miners, had their statements manipulated and gave false evidence in court to justify spurious criminal charges.

After the subsequent legal submission to the Home Office, campaigners now awaits a meeting with Home Secretary Theresa May to discuss the matter.

Ahead of today’s justice meeting, Catherine Flannery, the group’s media officer, who is also in London for the summit, said: “One of the reasons we wanted to attend this event was to reiterate the importance of looking at the legal submission.

“We thought that we would have had a meeting with Theresa May by the end of January. She seemed to be taking it very seriously but there is a timescale that needs to be kept to.

“There are no guarantees with this kind of thing so tomorrow is important for us to put on a bit more pressure.”

In a letter sent to the campaign group last month, Alastair Whitehead, Mrs May’s deputy principal private secretary, said: “Home Office officials have undertaken an initial review of the submission and, given the extensive and detailed issues raised in it, I am sure you will appreciate the need for us to conduct a thorough analysis of the arguments it contained.

“The Home Secretary will therefore provide a fuller response in due course, setting out the Government’s position.”