MP Marie Rimmer backs Orgreave calls

Pickets and police face to face at Orgreave
Pickets and police face to face at Orgreave

St Helens MP Marie Rimmer has backed calls for an independent investigation into the Battle of Orgreave.

The confrontation between striking miners and police, which took place in 1984, has long been a source of anger and frustration.

St Helens MP Marie Rimmer

St Helens MP Marie Rimmer

Miners have accused the police of heavy-handed tactics resulting in many pickets suffering arrest and serious injury.

And in the aftermath of the Hillsborough inquiry, fresh calls have been made to investigate South Yorkshire Police’s conduct at Orgreave.

A number of St Helens miners were involved in the Orgreave picket, spurring Ms Rimmer to back calls for an independent probe.

She said: “The recent enquiry into the Hillsborough tragedy highlighted a number of issues in the way that SYPF had handled the aftermath of the tragedy. This included altering statements to ‘deflect blame’.

“The similarities with the actions of SYPF in relation to Hillsborough and Orgreave are striking and certainly give grave cause for concern and warrant further investigation.

“In former mining communities such as my constituency, the need for an open, honest and trusting relationship between the police and the public they serve and protect is paramount and an investigation could go some way to repairing any loss of trust that may have been caused.”

One of Ms Rimmer’s first acts as an MP was to sign a Parliamentary motion condemning the Independent Police Complaints Commission for failing to investigate the police’s actions at Orgreave.

Ms Rimmer added: “The Hillsborough enquiry has also shown the value of revisiting previous events in the interest of justice.

“I believe that the events surrounding Orgreave and the wider 1984-85 miners’ strike would benefit from this type of scrutiny.

“The opportunity to learn vital lessons from the past is crucial in moving forward and ensuring that these events do not re-occur.”