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Amber Rudd criticised for dodging questions on Orgreave

Amber Rudd did not attend Parliament to face criticism over her decision Credit: PA

Home Secretary Amber Rudd has been heavily criticised after failing to attend parliament to answer questions over her controversial decision not to hold an inquiry into events at Orgreave in 1984.

Labour MPs called out "Where is she?" as Home Office minister Brandon Lewis was left to defend the move in the Commons today.

Former shadow home secretary Andy Burnham suggested it was "revealing" that Ms Rudd "wasn't prepared to come to this House today to justify her decision".

Fellow Labour MP Louise Haigh also added that the Home Secretary had "bottled it" by declining to attend.

Amber Rudd accused of failing to review Orgreave files

The Home Secretary was accused of failing to fully review all the evidence over violent clashes between police and striking miners in Orgreave before deciding not to hold an official inquiry into the incident.

Andy Burnham said it was "staggering" that Amber Rudd had "brushed away" calls for an inquiry into the 1984 clashes.

He accused Ms Rudd, who was not present in the Commons to answer his question, of failing to obtain and examine original files held by South Yorkshire Police over the incident.

Her office may also have overseen "utterly cruel" treatment of campaigners after parliamentary sources initially indicated to reporters that an inquiry would go ahead, he said.

Brandon Lewis, speaking on behalf of the government, insisted that Ms Rudd had reviewed a wide range of documents and considered range of factors before reaching a decision.

"I fully appreciate we have a disagreement on this - it doesn't mean the Home Secretary's decision is wrong", he said.

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Labour to ask urgent question in Commons on Orgreave

The government has ruled out an inquiry into the events at Orgreave. Credit: Nick Ansell / PA Wire

Labour MP Andy Burnham will ask an urgent question in the House of Commons about the government's decision not to hold an inquiry into the events at Orgreave in 1984.

The question is expected at 12.30pm.

Mr Burnham posted a message on Twitter saying he believed Ms Rudd would not be in the Commons to answer his question.

Campaigners are angry that their call for an official inquiry into clashes between police and miners during a bitter industrial dispute were rejected by Home Secretary Amber Rudd.

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.

The Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign and the National Union of Mineworkers are said to be taking legal advice following Ms Rudd's decision.

Hillsborough-style inquiry denied to Orgreave campaigners

Campaigners were left bitterly disappointed when the Government announced there would be no Hillsborough-style inquiry into the Battle of Orgreave.

Speaking outside Parliament, former miner Kevin Horne said: "What do we tell the families whose dads are dead, and whose granddads are dead?

"We've got to go on with our tails between our legs; and so we failed. What do we say to them? I don't know what to say to them."

  • Video report by ITV News Deputy Political Editor Chris Ship

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Orgreave campaigners vow to continue fight for justice

Orgreave campaigners vow to continue fight for justice

Orgreave campaigners declared "justice has been denied, but the fight will carry on."

A spokesman told journalists outside the House of Commons: "The campaigners have worked tirelessly to place on the political agenda the urgent need for a public inquiry into key questions into the role of the police on that day.

"We are determined and the continue to build on the all ready wide."

Andy Burham, who stood with the campaigners, said that without knowing the truth about Orgreave, the Hillsborough relatives would continue to be denied the full story.

Throwing his weight behind the campaign, he said: "It's my firm view that we will never have the full truth about Hillsborough until we also have the truth about what happened five years earlier when the same police force used the same tactics to try and put the minors in a bad light in the same they later tried to and discredit Liverpool supporters."

Corbyn 'appalled' by Government's Orgreave ruling

Jeremy Corbyn said he was Credit: Reuters

Jeremy Corbyn said he was "appalled" that the Government have ruled out an inquiry into Orgreave.

In a tweet, the Labour leader said the decision announced by the Home Secretary on Monday afternoon denied "truth and justice for victims and their families."

Yvette Cooper, chairwoman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, urged Mrs Rudd to reconsider her decision.

She told MPs in the Commons that 95 miners faced the injustice of being charged, while some "went through very difficult trials based on charges and evidence that later collapsed".

She added: "Given her predecessor's record of a whole series of inquiries and reviews in cases where injustice was suspected, would she think again about her decision today?"

Orgreave: Miners and families 'deserve to know truth'

Dr Alan Billings said he was Credit: PA

South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings said he was "shocked and dismayed" by the Government's decision not to hold an inquiry into the Battle of Orgreave.

He said the "former miners and their families deserved to know the truth about what happened that day".

Dr Billings said: "The government have marched the Campaign for Truth and Justice to the top of the hill only to march them down again.

"No one has ever suggested that the events of Orgreave were comparable in every respect to the disaster at Hillsborough.

"But the former miners and the former mining communities in South Yorkshire deserve an explanation as to what happened on that day and where Orgreave fits in the wider story of the miners' strike.

"I believe the government has shied away from agreeing an inquiry because of those wider issues."

Dr Billings said South Yorkshire Police were "ready to co-operate" with an inquiry.

"This was a critical moment for the police service in South Yorkshire. It could have shown that it had really learned lessons of past mistakes and was ready to co-operate fully with any inquiry.

"We wanted to see a new era of openness with no attempt to be self-justifying or defensive," he said.

Orgreave announcement provokes fury from Labour MPs

Amber Rudd said there would be no inquiry into the Battle of Orgreave. Credit: PA

Labour MPs reacted angrily to the Home Secretary Amber Rudd's decision not to hold an inquiry into the Battle of Orgreave.

Louise Haigh, MP for Sheffield Heeley, who first raised demands for an inquiry with then home secretary Theresa May in a 2015 letter signed by more than 100 Labour colleagues, said it was a "disgraceful betrayal of justice".

She said: "The Home Secretary today has put a screeching brake on the search for truth.

"For many communities in South Yorkshire the question of how police forces from across the country - not just South Yorkshire - which are supposed to be there to serve them could be used against them in such a brutal, deliberate way has left a bitter legacy. This decision will exacerbate that."

Senior backbencher and Leeds Central MP Hilary Benn said: "It's time the truth was told and the Government is failing in its responsibility by ruling out an inquiry."

Aberavon MP Stephen Kinnock branded Ms Rudd's decision an "absolute disgrace", while Barnsley MP Michael Dugher said it was "a complete betrayal of campaigners and a spit in the face for every former coalfield community".

Mr Dugher described the announcement as "a political decision to protect the interests of the Tory party".

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