Scargill heckled as he takes NUM expenses battle to county court

Former miners’ leader Arthur Scargill yesterday took on his own union in a £25,000 expenses battle.

For the first time Mr Scargill, 73, faced NUM officials across a courtroom as he launched a bid to have his allowances reinstated.

He hired a QC from a London law firm to represent him against the NUM Yorkshire Area Trust Fund in a hearing at Barnsley County Court.

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But when he emerged from the building an ex-miner heckled him, shouting: “Get a job Arthur, get your nails mucky.”

Mr Scargill has been in dispute with the current NUM leadership for some time. Last year he was told he no longer qualified for full financial membership of the union, which triggered his current claim.

Earlier this year it emerged in a separate legal action the NUM was trying to remove his second home perk, a £1.5m flat in London.

Mr Scargill, who refused to comment after the hearing, is asking for reinstatement of allowances he was claiming from the NUM until they were stopped last year.

He is still currently honorary NUM president, but is set to retire this year.

His claim is for reinstatement of his perks, which involved the union paying for 80 per cent of the cost of running his car, all his telephone bills and the security bill at his Barnsley home, accountancy fees and cash in lieu of a fuel allowance.

After the hearing Chris Skidmore, Yorkshire area NUM chairman said: “The district judge said this case is worth £25,000.”

Mr Scargill wanted a full hearing to take place before he steps down from his honorary role, but it is now likely to take place next year.

Mr Skidmore said: “He is seeking to prove that his contract of employment allows him to have these allowances as an ex-full time official. All the allowances were stopped by the union when his full-time membership ended.”

Mr Scargill has dropped his action against the Lancashire Area Trust Fund who were jointly paying his allowances with the Yorkshire Trust.

Mr Scargill led the NUM during the year-long miners’ strike in 1984-85 and retired as president in 2002.

Mr Skidmore said the ex-leader was “not doing his reputation any good at all”.