MP: Review should consider pardon for wrongly convicted miners

A review of convictions of miners during the 1984/85 strike should consider pardons, says Lesley Laird MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath.

Scores of miners were convicted during the strike, with an estimated 500 arrests in Scotland during the dispute.

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.

Lesley said: “I am proud to stand alongside Cllr Bobby Clelland and former Labour Fife councillors Bob Young, Jim Young and Tom Adams – all ex-miners – in asking for pardons.

“I know that the wound is still raw for many men who, 33 years on, still seek justice for what they suffered under Margaret Thatcher’s abuse of police powers.

“Former pit delegate John Mitchell (73) recounted earlier this year how he felt he had been ‘specifically targeted’ by police at a picket line outside the Frances in 1985.

“That action triggered what he called “three years of hell” as he fought to keep his pension after losing both his job and redundancy amounting to £26,000.

“John was far from alone. Many miners found themselves blacklisted, which consigned them to years of unemployment, and lost their homes, relationships mental and physical health.

“This review provides a vital chance to consider pardons for these men – and ensure that no more miners go to their graves with a wrongful criminal conviction against their name.”