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UNION leaders welcomed today’s publication of a Scottish Parliament Bill that would pave the way for many miners wrongly convicted of offences during the 1984-5 strike to receive pardons.
Ministers unveiled the Miners Strike (Pardons) (Scotland) Bill following recommendations from a review undertaken by John Scott QC and a campaign by trade unions and politicians, including Labour MSP Neil Findlay.
Under the legislation, those convicted of breach of the peace, breach of bail conditions or obstructing police would be pardoned.
SNP Justice Secretary Keith Brown said he is keen to move quickly, given the length of time that has passed since the strike.
He said: “This new draft legislation will go some way to aid reconciliation — and to help heal wounds within Scotland’s mining communities.”
The Bill was well received by those who have campaigned for miners’ justice, with National Union of Mineworkers general secretary Chris Kitchen telling the Star that he hoped to see it passed unanimously by MSPs.
He said: “It’s a significant step in the right direction and recognition from the Scottish government that the strike was political and there were miners who were victimised and the law used against them illegally. It’ll mean a lot to workers.
“At least it recognises the miners’ innocence and will offer some comfort for the families of those no longer with us.”
Mr Kitchen said that the Westminster government should follow suit, adding: “What I’d like to see next is the Home Secretary [Priti Patel] living up to her title of ‘right honourable’ and doing the right thing, following the lead of the Scottish government with an inquiry into Orgreave as well as a pardon for those involved in the miners’ strike.”
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