Shrewsbury 24 pickets petition handed to government

Royle Family actor Ricky Tomlinson Royle Family actor Ricky Tomlinson was among those who delivered the petition

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A 100,000-signature petition has been handed to government by campaigners trying to quash 40-year-old convictions against 24 pickets.

The Shrewsbury 24 document was handed in to 10 Downing Street by union leaders and Royle Family actor Ricky Tomlinson - one of the 24.

The group was accused of intimidating workers and violent picketing in Telford, Shropshire, in 1972.

They want documents relating to the case to be released.

Steve Murphy, general secretary of construction union Ucatt, said the petition was "outstanding".

"It demonstrates the determination of the pickets to win justice and also the public's support for their cause," he said.

"Parliament now has a moral duty to debate the case and the government must come clean and publish all the papers relating to the pickets' case."

The pickets were arrested five months after the 1972 building workers' strike and charged under the 1875 Conspiracy Act.

Six were sent to prison, including Mr Tomlinson.

Eileen Turnbull, the campaign group's researcher, said: "We are delighted with the progress we are making and we are convinced that the unjust convictions will be overturned."

Rail Maritime and Transport union leader Bob Crow said: "It is clear that there was a conspiracy at the highest level in 1972 to blacklist and fit up trade union activists and it is time for all the papers to be released and for those that were wrongly imprisoned to be given justice at last."

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