Kirkconnel Mining Memorial
Kirkconnel Mining Memorial

South Scotland Labour MSP Colin Smyth has laid down a challenge to Boris Johnston to visit coalfield communities in South Scotland to find out for himself the devastation caused by the closure of mines in the 1980s.

The challenge comes after the Prime Minister praised the closure of coal mines under Margaret Thatcher and claimed it gave the UK a ‘head start’ on green energy,

Speaking on a visit to Scotland yesterday Boris Johnston said “Thanks to Margaret Thatcher, who closed so many coal mines across the country, we had a big early start and we’re now moving rapidly away from coal altogether.” He is reported to have laughed and told reporters: “I thought that would get you going.”

Communities across South Scotland  were left devastated when coal mines across the area were axed in the 1980s.

South Scotland MSP and Scottish Labour’s Economic Development Spokesperson Colin Smyth said, “The closure of the mines in communities across our region in the 80s , without any adequate support to rebuild the local economy, left a level of devastation that even today they have still not fully recovered from”.

”You just have to speak to any former miner in those proud communities to appreciate how utterly divisive and destructive that period was for the local towns and villages affected and understand the considerable hardship and misery that was caused”.

“The axing of mines by Thatcher had nothing to do with the environmentalism and everything to do with trying to crush the trade unions ”

“I hope the Prime Minister will apologise for yet another bungling performance and his crass comments. I’d challenge Boris Johnston to visit the coalfield communities, speak to local people and listen to their calls to start to repair some of the damage caused all those years ago, with proper investment from the Government.”

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