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Ex-miner and Orgreave campaigner no-platformed at Labour meeting

A LEADING figure in the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign says he was was no-platformed minutes before he was due to speak at a Labour Party meeting he had been invited to address on behalf of the campaign.

John Dunn is an ex-miner from Derbyshire who was attacked by constables during the infamous police riot at a coking depot at Orgreave, South Yorkshire, on June 18, 1984, during the miners’ strike against pit closures.

Mr Dunn said: “Last night I was booked to speak at Stoke West Labour Party, on behalf of the campaign.

“I spent some time preparing my speech, only to find that minutes before I was due to join the meeting I had been no-platformed and could not speak.

“They didn’t even have the courtesy to inform me. I was told by one of our supporters who had asked me to go.”

He said that since the Orgreave campaign was founded in 2012 the campaign had “never been treated so disgustingly.”

He said he had been told the ban was instigated by former Labour and Co-operative MP Gareth Snell, who represented Stoke-on-Trent Central from 2017 to 2019.

Mr Dunn said: “Comrade Snell was elected as MP in 2017, his campaign was marred by allegations of misogyny, after his various comments on Twitter regarding women on TV.”

He said that among comments attributed to Mr Snell was a statement that Coronation Street TV character Deirdre Barlow should be given “a good slap.”

Campaign secretary Kate Flannery said: “John was speaking on behalf of the campaign. There was no reason to no-platform him.”

Two months ago Mr Dunn was expelled from Labour after “liking” a post on Facebook referring to the Socialist Labour Network.

Mr Snell has subsequently denied the claim, saying there was a collective agreement by branch executive members and co-ordinators that it would not be appropriate for a suspended member of the party to address the meeting. While he said it was not his decision or suggestion, he admitted telling the meeting that he would be uncomfortable chairing an event that Mr Dunn addressed.

Stoke West branch of the Labour Party were invited to comment.

The campaign is demanding a public inquiry into the police riot in which 6,000 police officers, mainly in riot gear and many on horseback, launched an unprovoked attack on peaceful pickets, battering striking miners as they fled.

The campaign’s annual march and rally takes place in Sheffield on Saturday, June 18.

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