Following reports in the media over the weekend of 22nd & 23rd September 2016, it looks like the Government may be about to do a U-turn on a possible enquiry into the 1984 “Battle of Orgreave”. Shadow Home Secretary Andy Burnham has called on Home Secretary Amber Rudd for clarity following contradictory reports in the media and subsequent Sunday papers.
Reports in the press hint that Ms Rudd was ready to appoint someone to look into material regarding the dispute but then on Sunday 23rd September 2016 another newspaper claimed a possible enquiry had been shelved.
Previously in her former role as Home Secretary the new Prime Minister, Theresa May, had invited the campaigners from the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign (OTJC) to make an official request for an inquiry. With Mr Burnham saying of Ms May “If she throws that back at them now, people will conclude it is for all the wrong reasons and it will not reflect well on our Prime Minister.”
Ms Rudd had met with some of the organisers of OTJC http://otjc.org.uk/ earlier in September to discuss the case for a possible inquiry. The OTJC released a press statement after the meeting which seems to contradict the reports in the Sunday newspapers “(Ms Rudd) appears to accept that it is essential that these events are looked at. We also welcome the fact that she is considering how to make the Orgreave documents public: full disclosure was an essential part of the transparency and truth achieved by the Hillsborough Independent Panel, and the same is needed in respect of Orgreave.”
As for the argument that an inquiry would be too expensive the OTJC has this to say “it is also important to remember that the IPCC did 2 years’ worth of investigation on the Orgreave case, and so a significant amount of work has already been done. We therefore consider that the costs are likely to be less than those of the Hillsborough case.”
It appears we are in the dark over what will happen with an inquiry into the events in South Yorkshire, but the fact that Ms Rudd is meeting with campaigners surely indicates that the Government is close to making and announcing their intentions and if not, it is more than likely that Mr Burnham will keep the topic on his political agenda.