Orgreave campaigners’ given fresh hope for inquiry

Barbara Jackson, Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign
Barbara Jackson, Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign

Orgreave campaigners have admitted there are ‘huge political and financial hurdles’ to overcome before a public inquiry into the event may be held.

Members of the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign are currently preparing a legal submission which they hope could lead to the creation of a Hillsborough-style independent panel.

Barbara Jackson, secretary of the campaign, met with Home Secretary Theresa May, along with other members in the campaign.

She said Mrs May had ‘left the door open’ for a Hillsborough-style panel to be created – which could potentially be the first step on the way to a full public inquiry.

Campaigners were left disappointed in June after the Independent Police Complaints Commission announced it would not investigate alleged police misconduct surrounding the miners’ strike.

Ninety-five people were arrested in the clash between picketing miners and police in June 1984, during the national miners’ strike.

When the cases came to court, all were abandoned due to unreliable evidence and later South Yorkshire Police paid out £425,000 in out-of-court settlements to 39 pickets.

But campaigners are now hard at work preparing documents for a legal submission in mid-September, after the ‘positive’ meeting with Mrs May.

Ms Jackson said: “Mrs May agreed that we could prepare a legal submission for the creation of an independent panel hearing in the way that Hillsborough has had.

“We would regard that as hopefully a stepping stone towards a full public inquiry. So it was an important step.”

The current ongoing Hillsborough inquests, investigating the death of 96 football fans at the ground in 1989, came about after an independent panel was created.

Ms Jackson said: “The IPCC decision was not a surprise but its report laid the foundation for a further investigation. It uncovered fresh evidence, including of corruption, but it was out of the IPCC’s remit.

“The report said ‘this needs a full public inquiry’ or something of that ilk.

“If those nuggets of gold hadn’t been in the report we probably wouldn’t have had a meeting with Mrs May.

“Of course, any inquiry will cost the Home Office money. We are hopeful but there are huge political and financial hurdles to overcome.”