Campaigners and MPs have reacted with shock as Home Secretary Amber Rudd announced there would be no inquiry into events at the “Battle of Orgreave”.
In violent scenes, thousands of minors and police clashed in Orgreave, a coking site in Yorkshire. Starling images from the time show police on horseback, clad in riot gear and brandishing truncheons, coming up against angry miners whose jobs were under threat.
There have been demands for years for an inquiry, with campaigners saying South Yorkshire Police overreacted to the situation and went on to fabricate statements.
However, despite numerous calls, Mrs Rudd that was not a “sufficient basis” to launch either an independent review or a statutory inquiry.
Labour MPs have reacted with disbelief following the decision.
The shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said the decision by the Home Office was a “grave injustice”. Meanwhile Andy Burnham MP, said it was an “establishment stitch-up.”
Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign secretary Barbara Jackson described the announcement as a “complete shock and a great disappointment”.
The Battle of Orgreave was a violent confrontation between police and miners on the picket line at a British Steel Corporation coking plant. It was a pivotal event in the UK miners’ strike and one of the most violent happenings to take place in British industrial history.
Calls for an inquiry to be launched into what really happened during the clash gathered force following the Hillsborough inquiry, which ended with heavy criticism of the behaviour of South Yorkshire Police.
But, in a statement, Mrs Rudd said she had taken into account “forceful accounts and arguments” put forward by miners and people campaigning on their behalf.
But she added that despite their powerful descriptions of what happened on the day and the ongoing effect the events had had on their lives, “ultimately there were no deaths or wrongful convictions.”
She adds that campaigners claim that the events at Orgreave could have prevented the tragic events at Hillsborough five years later if they had properly been looked into at the time.
But, Mrs Rudd said: “That is not a conclusion which I believe can be reached with any certainty.”
Mr Burnham, who was strongly behind Hillsborough campaigners’demands for an inquiry and fresh inquests, said that: “Given that the IPCC found evidence of perjury and perverting the course of justice, and given that in the last month new evidence has emerged from former police officers who were at Orgreave of orchestrated violence and the mass manufacture of police statements, aren’t we right in concluding that the establishment stitch-up that she has just announced today is nothing more than a naked political act?”