Mansfield and Ashfield: Meale backs miners’ strike parliamentary motion

Mansfield MP Sir Alan Mealeis backing an early day motion over the miners' strikes
Mansfield MP Sir Alan Mealeis backing an early day motion over the miners' strikes

Sir Alan Meale has backed an early day motion to parliament for an open inquiry into the use of the police and courts during the 1984 Miners’ Strike.

The Mansfield MP has read with interest the newly-released cabinet papers outlining government policies during the stand-off.

And he feels the “heavy-handed” treatment of some of the individuals concerned needs to be investigated to ensure it does not happen again.

“The new information that has come to light makes it clear it was a calculated attempt to close down the pits by whatever means necessary,” said Mr Meale.

“The fact there were 11,500 arrests of which 6,500 went to court and 2,500 were jailed - the kind of action not seen in this country for a long, long time - showed how determined the government were to see it through by whatever means necessary.

“The sooner an inquiry is opened the better as we need to make sure what happened then can never happen again.”

Having represented Mansfield in Westminster since 1987, Meale says he has seen the “devastating aftermath” that the axing of pits has had on the local economy since then and says Margaret Thatcher “closed Mansfield down.”

“It was never about money; people were simply battling to keep their jobs and their communities alive and we are still seeing the fall-out from that now in terms of the area’s struggles.

“Mansfield was the jewel in the crown of the country as far as coal was concerned, never mind just this area, and known as ‘King coal’, but it’s a shadow of its former self now.

“Not only that, but you can see from the current situation with regard to the energy issues we have that it wasn’t a good decision.”

Mr Meale confirmed he would also back any compensation claims made by miners as a result of loss of earnings.

“Where wrongful arrest were made and people suffered, I don’t see why they shouldn’t be compensated,” he said.

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