Home Secretary to announce decision on Orgreave inquiry

The Home Secretary is expected to announce today whether the Government will pursue an inquiry into the notorious clash between police and miners at Orgreave.

Amber Rudd is understood to have told campaigners that she will decide by the end of the month whether to launch a probe into the conduct of South Yorkshire Police during the violent encounter in 1984.

Amber Rudd. Picture by PA.

Amber Rudd. Picture by PA.

Her decision comes after the Hillsborough victims urged the secretary of state on Sunday not to limit an inquiry to a private review, instead committing to an open, panel-style hearing.
The so-called Battle at Orgreave became one of the most infamous showdowns between pickets and police during the miners' strike.

It is alleged by campaigners that police action on the day was excessively heavy handed and statements were manufactured to discredit those involved.

Momentum for an Orgreave inquiry has escalated since the conclusion of the two-year Hillsborough inquests, which provided a scathing assessment of the under-fire police force's behaviour.

Barbara Jackson, secretary of the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign, said at the weekend: "We trust that Amber Rudd will announce the only right decision, namely that there must be an inquiry into what happened at Orgreave and after it. These events are too serious to let them lie.

Orgreave. Picture by PA.

Orgreave. Picture by PA.

"However we have real concerns about what sort of inquiry the Home Secretary will establish: history is littered with examples of inquiries that have disappointed, such as the 'establishment-led' Stuart-Smith Scrutiny into Hillsborough, which completely failed to get to the truth, and we are keen to ensure that the Home Secretary does not make similar mistakes over Orgreave".

A review in 1998 into the Hillsborough disaster carried out by Lord Justice Stuart-Smith was said to have stalled the families' pursuit of the truth after he concluded new inquests were not warranted.

The relatives of those who died in the footballing tragedy said electing a single judge to review the case behind closed doors would be inadequate.

Chair of the Hillsborough Family Support Group Margaret Aspinall said: "A judicial security approach would be completely unacceptable as history shows in our case that it only served to lengthen the cover-up."

Labour MP Andy Burnham, who championed both the causes of the Hillsborough families and the miners of Orgreave, said: "There are rumours that the Government is about to offer a narrow judicial scrutiny along the same lines as that which was offered to the Hillsborough families in 1998.

"If this is true, I will make it clear to the Home Secretary in the Commons on Monday that this is unacceptable. In the case of Hillsborough, it only served to lengthen the cover-up by a further decade. If the Government is looking at a broader inquiry, it is essential that the Orgreave campaign are consulted about the membership of the panel and its terms of reference."

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