South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has commented on the Scottish Government’s publication of a consultation paper on the development of a pardon scheme for participants in the 1984/1985 miners’ strike.
The MSP praised local mining communities for their “long, hard struggle to achieve justice”.
In October last year it was announced that former miners convicted during the year-long strike in the 1980s are to receive a pardon from the Scottish Government.
It is believed about 1,400 miners were arrested and more than 500 were convicted during the national dispute- including many across the South of Scotland.
A review commissioned by Scottish Government ministers said it was unlikely many of the miners would face prosecution for their actions today.
The strike resulted from a dispute between the mining unions and the national coal board as pits across Scotland were earmarked for closure.
Colin Smyth said: “I warmly welcome this move. We now have a commitment from the Scottish Government to pardon former miners unfairly convicted during that titanic struggle of 1984/85.
“This consultation will inform the scheme of pardon to be applied. I would encourage anyone with an interest in this issue to complete the short consultation paper with their views.
“You don’t have to have a conviction or have been involved with the strike to do so – anyone can respond. Please take a few minutes to give your views and help deliver at least some justice for those who have carried the weight of a conviction for almost 40 years.
“These convictions were a travesty and as the report rightly states, it is very unlikely many of the miners would have faced prosecution for their actions today.
“Many former miners and their families have waited years for this – they have paid a heavy price for their convictions.
“The impact on those with convictions was devastating – many lost their jobs, their redundancy and their health and wellbeing as a result, with others blacklisted due to union activity and convictions.
“There are also many who were convicted who have now passed away, but I hope this decision will be of some comfort to their families. A huge wrong has now been righted.”