Amber Rudd accused of ‘establishment stitch up’ over refusal to grant Orgreave inquiry
The home secretary was accused of ‘an establishment stitch up’ after she ruled out an inquiry into the so called ‘Battle of Orgreave’, the notorious 1984 clash between police and miners. In a written statement, Amber Rudd told the House of Commons that there was ‘not a sufficient basis’ to set up either a statutory inquiry or an independent review.
You can read Mark George QC on Orgreave on the Justice Gap (When the South Yorkshire Police were out of control)
Acknowledging that there would be ‘a significant disappointment’ to campaigners, Rudd continued: ‘Despite the forceful accounts and arguments provided by the campaigners and former miners who were present that day, about the effect that these events have had on them, ultimately there were no deaths or wrongful convictions.’
‘There were no miscarriages of justice, there were no deaths, there were no convictions,’ Rudd told MPs. The minister insisted that there would ‘be very few lessons for the policing system today to be learned from any review of the events and practices of three decades ago’.
‘Are we right in concluding the establishment stitch-up that she has just announced today is nothing more than a nakedly political act?’ asked former shadow home secretary Andy Burnham.
In an interview with the Justice Gap for Proof magazine, the Hillsborough campaigner Margaret Aspinall said: ‘If there had been an inquiry into Orgreave when there should have been, 30 odd years ago Hillsborough might not have happened.’ Aspinall lost her 18-year old son, James in the 1989 disaster.
‘Given that the IPCC found evidence of perjury and perversion of the course of justice, and given that in the last month new evidence has emerged from former police officers who were at Orgreave of orchestrated violence and the mass manufacture of police statements, are we right in concluding the establishment stitch-up that she has just announced today is nothing more than a nakedly political act?’
Barbara Jackson, secretary of the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign, called the decision ‘absolutely unacceptable’. ‘It is nearly 32 years since 95 miners were arrested at Orgreave,’ she said. ‘Now, some of those miners are dead and the surviving ones face the prospect of several more years before we can get truth and justice,” she said. “However we are determined people and the OTJC will continue to build wide support for a full, independent public inquiry. We will not give up.’ Michael Mansfield QC told Radio 4’s Today programme this morning that the campaign are looking into challenging the decision by judicial review.
Jon is editor of the Justice Gap. He is a freelance journalist. Jon's books include The First Miscarriage of Justice (Waterside Press, 2014), The Justice Gap (LAG, 2009) and People Power (Daily Telegraph/LawPack, 2008). Jon is a journalism lecturer at Winchester University and a visiting senior fellow in access to justice at the University of Lincoln. He is twice winner of the Bar Council's journalism award (2015 and 2005) and is shortlisted for this year's Criminal Justice Alliance's journalism award