Wythenshawe MP blasts government over “Battle of Orgreave” inquiry decision
Wythenshawe’s Labour MP has called for a government apology to a whistleblowing police officer following a decision this week not to go ahead with a public inquiry into policing at the “Battle of Orgreave” during the miners’ strike in 1984.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd said there would be no inquiry into the events of June 18 at the Orgreave Coking Plant near Rotherham, and their aftermath. It was alleged that officers had been ordered to fabricate evidence.
Police charged at pickets who had gathered at the plant. Dozens were injured and 95 miners were arrested with 55 charged with riot, carrying a sentence of life imprisonment. Nearly a year later their trials collapsed when it emerged that many of the police officers had their statements dictated to them.
In a question to the Home Secretary, Wythenshawe’s Mike Kane had offered help feed evidenc from Greater Manchester police officers who were there on the day, to a public inquiry which had been called for by MPs, trades unionists and members of the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign.
Former police officer, Mike Freeman, now a Labour councillor for Sale Moor, was ready to give evidence, saying that he was asked to do things on the day which “ran against all the fundamentals of policing.”
But this week Amber Rudd, in an announcement to MPs said nothing could be learned from an inquiry into Orgreave, provoking fury from campaigners.
In a question in parliament to Brandon Lewis, the Home Office minister responsible for policing, Mr Kane said: “The Home Secretary stood at the dispatch box and encouraged me to present the evidence that I had been given by one of my local councillors, Mike Freeman.
“He was a serving officer in Greater Manchester Police whose whistleblowing about the corrupt practices in south Yorkshire featured in an edition of the Channel Four “Dispatches” programme. This Government did not have Mike’s back. Would the minister like to apologise for the personal cost that he has suffered?”
Mr Lewis replied saying the government was determined to ensure whistleblowers were properly protected.
The aftermath of Orgreave has been compared with the way South Yorkshire Police altered statements in the wake of the Hillsborough disaster, when 96 Liverpool football fans lost their lives.
The Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign says the events in 1984 represents one of the most serious miscarriages of justice in British history, and have said they will continue with their campaign to secure a public inquiry.