POLITICS

Amber Rudd Branded A 'Disgrace' In Commons As Tories Reject Orgreave Inquiry

Labour accuse government of 'establishment stitch up'

31/10/2016 14:58 | Updated 31 October 2016

Amber Rudd was heckled in the Commons on Monday after she announced the government would refuse to hold a statutory inquiry or independent review into the notorious clash between police and miners at Orgreave in 1984.

Jeremy Corbyn and Labour shadow home secretary Diane Abbott condemned the home secretary for her decision.

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.

Orgreave families react: ‘We’ve just been custard-pied’

Rudd told the Commons on Monday she had taken the decision as there “were no deaths or wrongful convictions”.

However she admitted it would come “as a significant disappointment to the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign and its supporters”.

Abbott said: “The victims and their families have been treated shamefully by this government. The campaigners were led to believe only that there was debate on the form of Inquiry, but Amber Rudd and Theresa May have led them up them up the garden path.

 “This is a shameful decision, which ignores the need for truth and justice. Labour stands with the campaigners and will not rest until there is a full Hillsborough-style Inquiry.”

As she announced her decision, MPs shouted across the Commons that it was a “disgrace”.

Former shadow home secretary and Labour’s Manchester mayoral candidate Andy Burnham said Rudd was guilty of a “establishment stitch up” which was “nothing more than a nakedly political act”.

Labour shadow cabinet minister Jon Tricket said the party would set up an inquiry should it win the next election.

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. Hillsborough victims had urged Rudd not to limit an inquiry to a private review, instead committing to an open, panel-style hearing.

Hilary Benn, the Labour chairman of the Commons Brexit committee, said the decison was “shameful”. He tweeted: “It’s time the truth was told and the Government is failing in its responsibility by ruling out an Inquiry.”

Sheffield Heely Labour MP Louise Haigh said the decision was “a slap in the face to the campaigners an the victims and their families”.

South Yorkshire MPs John Healey and Kevin Barron said in a statement:

“This shock decision by the Government not to go ahead with a statutory inquiry or an independent review into Orgreave is a betrayal of the families that have campaigned so long for justice. It is an early stain on Theresa May’s premiership and a shameful abdication of responsibility by the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd. Former miners, their families and communities have waited decades for the truth, and they will be deeply disappointed by today’s announcement.”

Civil liberties campaign group Liberty also condemned Rudd’s decision.

In a written statement announcing her decision today, Rudd said: “Despite the forceful accounts and arguments provided by the campaigners and former miners who were present that day, about the effect that these events have had on them, ultimately there were no deaths or wrongful convictions.

“There have been very significant changes in the oversight of policing since 1984, at every level, including major reforms to criminal procedure, changes to public order policing and practice, stronger external scrutiny and greater local accountability.

“There would therefore be very few lessons for the policing system today to be learned from any review of the events and practices of three decades ago.”

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