Home Secretary 'misled campaigners' over Orgreave inquiry

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Campaigners urging an official inquiry into the 1984 clash between police and miners at Orgreave have said they will respond in detail after Home Secretary Amber Rudd rejected their calls.

The Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign and the National Union of Mineworkers will hold a news conference in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, following the announcement by Ms Rudd that there would be no statutory inquiry or independent review into the confrontation at the coking plant.

Ms Rudd said she made the "difficult decision", supported by Prime Minister Theresa May, because "ultimately there were no deaths or wrongful convictions" resulting from the conduct of South Yorkshire Police.

Speaking after the decision on Monday, campaigners said they felt misled by the Home Secretary and would not give up fighting for a full inquiry.

Chris Peace of the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign said the group would await a six-page letter from Ms Rudd before taking legal advice on how to proceed.

She said: "We say the decision is deeply disappointing and absolutely unacceptable.

"It is nearly 32 years since 95 miners were arrested at Orgreave, now some of those miners are dead and the surviving ones face the prospect of more time, more delay, before we get truth and justice.

"But we are determined people and the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign will continue to build on the already wide support for a full independent inquiry.

"We will not give up."

Sheffield Heeley MP Louise Haigh said outside Parliament on Monday: "I absolutely think she (Ms Rudd) misled us, I think Theresa May set up the campaigners and Amber Rudd did at the last meeting.

"She (Ms Rudd) said, her exact words were, she had to decide what format it would take. It wasn't a question for us of whether or not it would happen, it was in what form it would take.

"She said the culture had changed now, that a light needed to be shone on things like this, and that's why we absolutely believed that this decision would be positive today."

In what became known as the Battle of Orgreave, 6,000 police officers from around the country - many in riot gear and some on horseback - were deployed at the plant on June 18 1984 to deal with mass picketing by striking miners hoping to prevent the movement of coke stocks.

A series of charges by mounted police and baton-wielding "snatch squads" resulted in 95 miners being charged with riot or violent disorder, but trials collapsed when police accounts turned out to be unreliable.

Some campaigners have claimed that a proper inquiry at the time into police conduct at Orgreave could have prevented the football stadium disaster at Hillsborough five years later, which also involved the South Yorkshire force and left 96 fans dead.

But Ms Rudd insisted that was "not a conclusion which I believe can be reached with any certainty".

Earlier in a written ministerial statement, she said there had been "very significant changes" in the oversight of policing which meant there would be "very few lessons for the policing system today to be learned from any review of the events and practices of three decades ago".