Sarah Champion calls for a public enquiry into Orgreave
In October, I presented a petition to Parliament calling for a public enquiry into the events at Orgreave, in my constituency, in 1984.
The decision last year to deny an inquiry was an insult to the pickets and their families who have lived with this grave injustice for more than 30 years. In responding to my petition, the Government have repeated the same flawed argument they made a year ago: that no lessons for modern policing can be learned from such an inquiry.
I fundamentally disagree. South Yorkshire Police is in the midst of a long and challenging process of rebuilding, following revelations from about the Hillsborough disaster and the failure to confront child sexual exploitation in Rotherham. This process cannot be completed until we know the full truth about what happened at Orgreave. Without this, a shadow of mistrust will always linger over our police force.
I also do not believe the only purpose of historical inquiries is to learn lessons for modern policing. A former Home Secretary once observed that inquiries are not archaeological investigations; they are about justice. Sadly, Theresa May seems to have changed her mind when she entered Downing Street.
The Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign have worked tirelessly in the face of derision and dismissal from a Government that strung them along and then pulled the rug from under them. I have no doubt that they will persevere with the same determination and dignity that they have always shown. For my part, I will continue to seek to shine a light on events whose legacy lives on every day for my constituents and for coalfield communities.
You can read the Government’s response to my petition at: https://hansard.parliament.uk/…/171220350…/PolicingOrgreave…