Fife MSPs welcome pardons for miners convicted in 1984 strike

Miners convicted during the year long strike in the 1980s are to be pardoned by the Scottish Government.

Monday, 20th June 2022, 4:35 pm
Updated Monday, 20th June 2022, 5:22 pm

The news has been welcomed by the region’s MSPs.

Humza Yousaf, Scotland’s Justice Secretary, made the announcement in Holyrood last Thursday following the publication of an independent review into the matter.

It is believed about 1400 miners were arrested across Scotland and more than 500 convicted during the bitter strike of 1984.

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Police arrest members of the NUM miners' union picket line trying to stop lorries delivering coal to Ravenscraig steelworks in May 1984.

The pardons scheme will require new legislation to be introduced by the SNP Government and passed by the Scottish Parliament in due course.

The announcement means Scotland became the first country in the United Kingdom to pardon former miners convicted of certain offences related to strike action.

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David Torrance MSP for Kirkcaldy, welcomed the news, commenting: “A great number of local miners from Kirkcaldy and across Fife have suffered for years due to the excessive convictions handed out during the strike.

Miners entering the Frances colliery during the miners' strike in February 1985.

“The strike may have taken place 35 years ago, but there is still much anger in many of our local communities about how the miners were treated – and rightly so.

“For decades, hundreds of men and their families have had to deal with the consequences of the strike and their heavy convictions.

“This collective pardon also applies posthumously and is clear evidence of the SNP Government’s aim to right a historic wrong.”

Annabelle Ewing MSP, Cowdenbeath hailed it as “a significant moment” to right historic wrongs in a period “that was a very important time in Scottish modern political history and industrial relations and one which had an enormous and lasting impact on communities throughout the country, including in my constituency.”

She added: “Successive UK and Scottish Governments, involving Tory, Labour and the Lib Dems failed to come forward with a pardon, far less for financial compensation.

“I was a member of the Scottish Government Justice Team when the announcement to proceed with independent review by John Scott was made in 2018, I spoke in support of the Bill at Stage One in the Chamber and was in the chair through the amendment stage.

“I am pleased and proud that an SNP Scottish Government has acted to recognise these wrongs.”