Angela Rayner is demanding a public inquiry into the South Yorkshire police’s involvement in events at Orgreave during the Miners Strike.

She has signed a letter to Home Secretary Theresa May which highlights similarities in the police and legal handling of the Hillsborough tragedy and Orgreave.

This is the letter:

Home Secretary,

We the undersigned believe that the developments of recent weeks which make the case for a public inquiry into the events at and surrounding Orgreave overwhelming.

Firstly as you know, the Hillsborough Inquests after twenty seven years of injustice exonerated fans delivering, amongst other highly significant rulings, a verdict of unlawful killing. This built on the vital work of the Hillsborough Independent Panel which found that South Yorkshire Police had altered hundreds of statements with the intention of ‘deflecting blame’.

Secondly, media reports unmasked the previously redacted sections of the IPCC report from June 2015 into the events surrounding Orgreave which revealed striking similarities between the personnel and alleged practices of South Yorkshire Police at Orgreave and at Hillsborough. Similarities which we found to be chilling and which, in our view, render the need for truth utterly essential.

As you know, trust in those mining communities will never truly be restored until we find out the entire truth about Orgreave and the wider policing of the miners’ strike.

Thirdly and perhaps most significant of all, the public statement made by the interim Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police on Thursday 5th May was a hugely significant intervention. He said:

“The Hillsborough Inquests have brought into sharp focus the need to confront the past. I would therefore welcome an independent assessment of Orgreave, accepting that the way in which this is delivered is a matter for the Home Secretary”.

We urge you to seize the opportunity to build bridges between the police and those still troubled by how and whether police forces – ostensibly there to serve the community – was used against one.

These are questions which serve as an open wound which have not healed to this day. We believe the work of police officers is essential and a credit to this country but that the cloud of past wrongdoing and alleged wrongdoing continues to cause harm today. Difficult truths, however unpalatable, must be confronted head on and ensuring that justice is done and seen to be done is as important now as it was three decades ago.

Thank you for the substantial personal contribution you have made to the search for justice for the families of Hillsborough. We sincerely hope you will now decide that it is time we got to the bottom of the events of that decade which still scar communities throughout South Yorkshire and around the country.

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