Evidence call over miners' strike inquiry


The lawyer leading a review into the impact of policing during the miners' strike in Scotland has urged those involved in the protests to speak out.

John Scott QC said there were still "strong feelings" about the industrial action more than three decades ago.

The dispute included violent clashes between the police and strikers.

An independent review of how communities were affected was set up by the Scottish government earlier this year.

The year-long strike, from March 1984 to March 1985, saw miners across the UK go on strike in a bid to prevent the closure of pits by Margaret Thatcher's government.

It is estimated that 500 Scottish miners were arrested, with Scotland seeing 30% of the arrests during the disputes despite only having 10% of the UK's mining workforce.

Launching a call for evidence, Mr Scott insisted the inquiry was not about apportioning blame.

He told the BBC's Good Morning Scotland programme: "It's to try to understand the impact on communities, to recognise the impact on communities and then hopefully to assist with recommendations as to how such a situation may be avoided in the future."

Mr Scott said the impact of the strike was still being felt, more than three decades later.

"There are people who are still affected by it. There were men who were arrested, men who were convicted - who were then sacked and who didn't ever manage to get another job.

"In some of the smaller communities in particular, the knock on effect with their families, and then on the town or village itself - many, many people were affected and suffered as a result."

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson announced the inquiry in June, insisting that the probe was not anti-police but that it was "high time" that what communities endured was understood.

Mr Scott will be assisted during the review by an advisory panel made up of former MP and MSP Dennis Canavan, Jim Murdoch, a professor of public law at the University of Glasgow, and former Assistant Chief Constable Kate Thomson.

He will report back to ministers in 2019.