Liverpool actor Ricky Tomlinson has stepped up his campaign to clear his name and that of 23 others charged with conspiracy after a strike almost 40 years ago.

A year after the strike ended the building workers appeared before court under the 1875 conspiracy act. Mr Tomlinson was sentenced to 2 years.

Now, the Royle family star has launched and online e-petition to force the release of the government documents relating to the strike in 1972.

Their arrests came in the wake of the strike, during which flying pickets went from site to site trying to convince workers to join the dispute. The strikers wanted to end the use of casual labour in the building industry – known at the time as “the lump”.

The actor needs 100,000 signatures to spark a commons debate.