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'Shrewsbury 24' debate to be held in Parliament

Campaigners are trying to quash convictions against pickets from 1972
Campaigners are trying to quash convictions against pickets from 1972 Credit: PA Wire

Building workers who believe they were wrongly imprisoned following a strike in 1972 will have their case debated in Parliament today.

Campaigners, which include actor Ricky Tomlinson, are trying to quash convictions against the pickets who were arrested five months after the building workers' strike and charged under the 1875 Conspiracy Act, with six sent to prison.

A 100,000-signature petition has been delivered to the Government, with campaigners claiming the charges were politically motivated, with government interference in the prosecutions.

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VIDEO: Royle Family star takes conviction petition to No.10

Ricky Tomlinson has handed in a 100,000 signature petition to Downing Street, calling for the quashing of his 40-year-old conviction over a builders' strike.

Tomlinson was among a number of former pickets, convicted over their actions during the dispute in the early 1970s.

They want their names cleared, after being found guilty in what they believe was a politically-motivated and unjustified prosecution.

Andy Bonner reports.

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Tomlinson tells petition news conference: "We weren't villians"

The actor Ricky Tomlinson is addressing a news conference, ahead of taking a petition to Downing Street.

The petition calls on the government to release secret papers relating to Tomlinson's conviction for conspiracy, after a builders' strike in the early 1970s.

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Ricky Tomlinson: "The trial was a farce. I was no angel... but we we weren't villains."

Shrewsbury 24 Campaign petition collects 100,000 signatures

The Shrewsbury 24 building workers were convicted in 1973 of charges arising from the 1972 National Building Workers' strike.
The Shrewsbury 24 building workers were convicted in 1973 of charges arising from the 1972 National Building Workers' strike. Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Campaigners trying to overturn 40-year-old convictions against 24 Shrewsbury pickets have collected more than 100,000 signatures in a petition under moves to raise the issue in Parliament.

The Shrewsbury 24 Campaign has collected more than 107,000 signatures online and in towns and cities across the country as well as at union and other conferences.

The petition will be handed in to 10 Downing Street next week by union leaders and Royle Family actor Ricky Tomlinson, one of the 24.

The pickets were arrested five months after the 1972 building workers' strike and charged under the 1875 Conspiracy Act, with six sent to prison, including Tomlinson.

The campaign group wants all documents related to the case to be released, claiming they would prove that a "massive miscarriage of justice" was handed out.

Call for review of Shrewsbury 24 trial

Actor Ricky Tomlinson was among six workers who were jailed in 1972 Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA Archive/Press Association Images

The general secretary of the Unite union has written to the Prime Minister on the fortieth anniversary of the 'Shrewsbury 24' trial, calling for a review.

Six workers, including the actor Ricky Tomlinson, were jailed in 1972 for their trade union activities.

They had been picketing construction sites in Shrewsbury in support of a nationally called builders strike.

Len McCluskey said: _“It was forty years ago today (3 October) that 24 construction workers were put on trial in Shrewsbury for their trade union activities.

“The workers have been protesting their innocence ever since and are progressing an application to the Criminal Cases Review Commission."

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Actor Ricky Tomlinson urges release of 'Shrewsbury 24' documents

Campaigners hoping to overturn convictions for conspiring to picket building sites during a national strike in 1972 have rallied support at Westminster.

Actor Ricky Tomlinson was one of those jailed at Shrewsbury Crown Court for his part in the action.

The campaingers are angry that the Government is refusing to release documents linked to the affair until 2021 on the grounds of national security.

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