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Miners' Anger Museum bosses refuse to ban Tories' dinner

INSENSITIVE managers of a Yorkshire coal-mining museum angered ex-miners yesterday for refusing to cancel plans to host the local Conservative Association’s annual dinner.

As reported exclusively in the Morning Star earlier this week, Dewsbury Conservative Association in West Yorkshire is to hold its annual dinner at the National Coal Mining Museum of England on March 10 next year, three days after the anniversary of the end of the heroic miners’ strike against pit closures in 1984-5.

The Tory provocation sparked a storm of protest from ex-miners, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign (OTJC).

NUM general secretary Chris Kitchen wrote to museum director Nick Dodd telling him of the “sense of anger” at the booking.

The museum is on the site of the former Caphouse colliery, near Wakefield.

He wrote: “It is a matter of common knowledge that members of the Conservative Party conspired to close and destroy the coal industry in the UK. In fact, although they denied it at the time, the Margaret Thatcher Foundation gloats and reveals the extent of the deception.

“I think it is wrong for the museum to be used by a political party that is clearly determined to keep rubbing salt into the wounds it created whenever it can.”

But Mr Dodd said in a statement that the dinner will go ahead.

He said that, as a publicly and grant-funded registered charity, the museum “is required by the Charity Commission’s rules to maintain political independence.”

OTJC chair Joe Rollin has warned that the dinner will be picketed.

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