Labour candidate for Elmet & Rothwell Veronica King has welcomed the Party's launch today of a ‘Justice for the Coalfields’ campaign to urge Conservative Ministers to begin to put right the wrongs with coalfield communities.
Earlier this month newly-released cabinet papers revealed that the Thatcher Government had a secret plan to close 75 pits at the cost of some 65,000 jobs; that the Government did seek to influence police tactics to escalate the dispute; and that they actively considered declaring a state of emergency and deploying the Army to defeat the miners and unions.
As the campaign launches nationally, Veronica King, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Elmet & Rothwell, which covers the former colliery sites of Ledston Luck, Savile and Allerton Bywater will spearhead a local campaign to gather support.
Labour is now urging Ministers to take the following action:
- Make a formal apology for the actions of the Government during the time of the strike
- Set out all details of the interactions between the Government and the police at the time
- Release all information about Government-police communications around Orgreave, with a proper investigation which might go a little way to rebuild public confidence
Labour believes this must happen before the 30th Anniversary of Orgreave on June 18th this year. On Wednesday 29th January Labour’s Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office Michael Dugher will raise this in the House of Commons, challenging Francis Maude to make an apology and commit to these actions.
Local residents are being urged to sign up and show their support for this campaign by signing the petition on Veronica's website, http://www.veronicaking.org.uk/coal_miners
Veronica King, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Elmet & Rothwell, said:
“Thirty years on, the scars of the miner’s strike and the shocking impact of those events on our community remain fresh in the memories of so many. It is shocking to consider that, far from being neutral as was claimed at the time, we now know the Thatcher Government took a deliberately calculated political approach, guided by a complete hostility to the coalfield communities.
“That is why the Labour party both nationally and locally is calling for justice for the coalfields.
“Ministers may want to sweep these events under the carpet, but the memories of the dispute and the subsequent closure programme continue to harbour anger in our communities. The government must now apologise and deliver transparency to begin to foster reconciliation with the coalfield communities. I am urging members of the local community in Elmet and Rothwell to join this campaign and show their support.”