Miners’ strike review must consider pardon for those wrongly convicted

Iain Gray MSP is backing a call for the review of convictions of miners during the 1984/85 strike to consider pardons for those wrongly convicted.

Scores of miners were convicted during the strike, with an estimated 500 arrests in Scotland during the dispute, and Mr Gray’s Labour colleague Neil Findlay has called for the review established earlier this year to explore pardons for them.

Scottish miners were disproportionately arrested, with 30 per cent of the sackings after arrest in Britain occurring north of the border, despite the country making up just 10 per cent of the then mining workforce. Many of those convicted were from East and Midlothian.

Iain Gray MSP said:

“I have met a number of men who believe they were wrongly arrested or convicted during the miners’ strike.

“Pits in the Lothians were particularly badly hit with many miners sacked and blacklisted because of their involvement in the dispute.

“It’s never too late to right a wrong, and with this review of the convictions we have an opportunity to secure justice by exploring pardons for the men who suffered despite having done nothing wrong.”

Scottish Labour Business and Campaigns Manager Neil Findlay MSP said:

“Mining communities across Britain suffered at the hands of politicised and often brutal policing as Margaret Thatcher and her Tory Government used the power of the state to crush working people. Scottish miners suffered disproportionately from these underhand tactics during this struggle.

“Many of these workers lost not just their jobs and income, but their relationships, their homes, and many their mental and physical health.

“Some were blacklisted and others went to their graves the victims of a miscarriage of justice with a criminal conviction against their name when the reality was they had done nothing wrong.

“The review of these convictions should consider pardons, and ensure that politicised convictions are thrown into the dustbin of history where they belong.”