PROSPECTIVE parliamentary candidates for Barnsley have welcomed their political party’s pledge to ‘uncover the truth’ about what happened at Orgreaven - after leaders and former miners came together to mark its 40th anniversary this week.

The so-called ‘Battle of Orgreave, as it is often referred to, began when thousands of miners - who were striking against pit closures - surrounded the plant on June 18, 1984 to try to stop lorries carrying coal into the site.

They were met by about 6,000 police officers, some on horses and some with riot shields.

More than 100 people were injured after mounted police officers retaliated with force, although miners were arrested and charged with riot and unlawful assembly.

However, their trials collapsed amid claims of police misconduct and perjury by officers.

Whilst civil proceedings against South Yorkshire Police led to compensation payments for some of the miners, and the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) published a partial report on Orgreave in 2015, there has never been a full investigation or inquiry into what happened that day, and countless questions remain unanswered.

Labour’s candidate for Barnsley North, Dan Jarvis, said: “Barnsley, like other coalfield communities, deserves to know the truth about what happened at Orgreave.

“Events that day had big repercussions for families and communities, yet decades later there are still many unanswered questions.

“That is why Labour wants to ensure the truth about Orgreave is finally made public.”

It’s the latest commitment made to the town’s ex-miners by Labour, with the party last week confirming plans to provide an uplift to coalworkers who paid into a pension scheme.

Barnsley South candidate Stephanie Peacock added: “This year we mark 40 years since miners were shamefully branded ‘the enemy within’ and since the appalling events that took place in 1984.

“Too many across Barnsley have waited too long for justice for what happened to them at Orgreave.

“I have spoken to those that were there that day, and called for action in Parliament on this issue a number of times.

“That is why I welcome the Labour manifesto which commits to an investigation or inquiry, so that the truth about the events at Orgreave comes to light.”

Unite, the UK’s leading trade union, spoke out on the anniversary of the Battle of Orgreave, highlighting anti-trade union legislation as a threat to democracy.

General secretary Sharon Graham said: “This week’s anniversary is a timely reminder of how the power of the state can be abused to attack workers.

“Unite is repeating its call for an independent inquiry into what happened at Orgreave, who gave the orders that day and the involvement of the highest levels of government - and we welcome that fact that these calls have now been reflected in the Labour manifesto.

“But we are also warning that anti-union laws like the legislation brought in by this government, alongside further laws preventing peaceful protest, leave open the door for future Orgreave-style abuses of state power.

“Any incoming government needs to commit to repealing all these draconian laws and restoring the rights of democratic unions and their members to drive up pay and conditions and protect vital industries from the sort of devastation wrought by Thatcher’s government.”