Battle of Orgreave: Government rejects calls for inquiry into violent clashes in miners' strike

Home Secretary Amber Rudd has faced criticism after rejecting calls for an independent inquiry into the conduct of South Yorkshire Police during the so-called Battle at Orgreave.

The Government had been expected to announce a full panel-style probe into the bloody clashes between police and miners in 1984.

But Ms Rudd announced in the House of Commons it was "not in the public interest" to hold an inquiry.

Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said the lack of an inquiry was a "grave injustice", while her party colleagues joined her in criticising the decision in the Commons.

Ms Abbott accused the Home Secretary of not understanding how disappointed and let down the Orgreave families would feel at her decision.

"A six page letter doesn't compensate for the violence and injustice that occurred at Orgreave so many years ago," Ms Abbott told the House of Commons.

"We know the South Yorkshire Police lied about what happened at Hillsborough, yet only five years earlier the same South Yorkshire Police - with many of the same commanders - behaved in a very similar way at Orgreave.

"The Orgreave families campaigners need the same justice as Hillsborough had and the same type of independent inquiry to establish the truth."

Labour MP Andy Burnham condemned it as an "establishment stitch-up".

Speaking during questions to the Home Office, Mr Burnham said: "Given that the IPCC found evidence of perjury and perversion of 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, are we right in concluding the establishment stitch-up that she has just announced today is nothing more than a nakedly political act?"

  • Amber Rudd announces to the House of Commons that there will be no inquiry into Orgreave.

Ms Rudd said in a written ministerial statement she had "concluded that there is not a sufficient basis for me to instigate either a statutory inquiry or an independent review".

The Home Secretary said she made the "difficult decision" because "ultimately there were no deaths or wrongful convictions" resulting from the clashes, which came during the miners' strike of 1984-85.

She acknowledged her decision would be a "significant disappointment" to the Orgreave Truth And Justice Campaign, which was calling for a full public inquiry into South Yorkshire Police's conduct.

Momentum for an Orgreave inquiry escalated after the conclusion of the two-year Hillsborough inquests. Credit: PA

The 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 violent and statements were manufactured to discredit the picketers involved.

Momentum for an Orgreave inquiry escalated since the conclusion of the two-year Hillsborough inquests, which provided a scathing assessment of the under-fire police force's behaviour.

In her ministerial statement, Ms Rudd rejected campaigners' assessment that had the events at Orgreave been dealt with properly at the time, the football disaster of 1989 would not have happened.