A Bill which would pardon miners convicted of offences during the 1984-1985 miners’ strike is to be scrutinised by a Scottish Parliament Committee.
The Equalities, Human Rights and Civil Justice Committee is seeking views from the public, academics and other interested stakeholders on the Miners’ Strike (Pardons) (Scotland) Bill.
If passed, the Bill would automatically pardon those convicted of offences which occurred during the course of a miner’s participation of a picket line, demonstration, or other similar gathering in supporting the strikes or while travelling to or from a picket line or demonstration.
Recognising the strain placed on police and community relationships during the strike, the legislation is an attempt to bring reconciliation between those upholding the law and those who were fighting to protect their jobs, livelihoods and communities.
Speaking as the inquiry was launched, Committee Convener Joe FitzPatrick MSP said:
“Many of those who took part and were convicted for their participation in the miners’ strike have had to live with the consequences and the resulting stigma for decades.
“This Bill seeks to provide some closure to communities across Scotland by pardoning those found guilty of certain offences during those bitter disputes.
“As we launch this inquiry, we want to find out if this legislation is the right approach to achieve reconciliation and right those historical injustices or if there are alternative ways we can reach that goal.
“In seeking views to aid our scrutiny, we particularly want to hear about how far the proposed pardons go and whether they cover the right people and offences.”
The call for views closes on 14 January 2022 and you can share your views here: https://yourviews.parliament.scot/ehrc/miners-strike-pardons-bill
In 2018, the Scottish Government launched an independent review of the policing of the miners’ strike. The review specifically looked at the impact the policing had had on communities.
The independent review's final report was published in 2020. The report recommended that the Scottish Government should pardon people convicted of certain offences related to the strike.
In October 2020, the Scottish Government announced that it had accepted in principle the Independent Review’s recommendation on pardons but would give consideration to the qualifying consideration that might apply to the pardon.
In March 2021, the Scottish Government launched its consultation into the qualifying criteria for the pardon. The consultation ran until 4 June 2021. The Scottish Government published its response to the consultation on 13 September 2021 which stated that the findings from the consultative response indicated that there was broad support for the pardon and that the only relevant qualifying criteria should be the range of offences to be covered by the pardon.