Today marks 35 years since Orgreave. As the Orgreave Campaign for Truth and Justice argues, it is possible to see a similar thread running through police actions at Orgreave and at Hillsborough five years later. While South Yorkshire Police is now thankfully a completely different organisation, that doesn’t in itself provide justice for what happened at Orgreave, nor does it mean that the families affected should be denied closure. It’s so disappointing that the Government recently rejected an offer from the Bishop of Sheffield to chair an independent panel to look into the events at Orgreave. We are now 35 years on from Orgreave, and ex-miners and their families are still waiting for justice. The Government’s argument that it’s too late for an inquiry, due to the length of time that’s passed, is simply not acceptable. It took 27 years to secure justice for the families of the Hillsborough victims – that was shameful, and it’s disgraceful that it’s taking even longer for justice for those affected by Orgreave. The last Labour manifesto committed to a full public inquiry into the events at Orgreave. This was a vital step forward. It’s time this Government made the same pledge, and I’ll keep pushing them to do so.
Today I attended the memorial bench dedication at the Pocket Peace Garden to remember the men of Cudworth who made the supreme sacrifice.Lest we forget.
It was an honour to present the Special Achievement award last night at Barnsley Young Champions.So many inspirational stories.A huge well done to the Chronicle for organising such a great event, and it was lovely to chat to Mel Dyke to congratulate her on her MBE.
I visited South Yorkshire Police at Atlas House to see first hand the call handlers who respond to 999 and 101 calls from across Barnsley and South Yorkshire.Thanks to Scarlett for letting me listen in to some of her calls.
Following recent uncertainty over Hoyland post office, I’ve been touch with The Post Office to find out what’s happening with this important local service.Disappointingly, they have confirmed to me today that the current office will be closing, but have assured me that they are working with local businesses in looking for a new base for a post office in Hoyland.I know just how vital local post offices are to our communities here in Barnsley, and I’ll continue to press this issue to ensure that an appropriate alternative is found and these services are maintained in Hoyland.
Today I asked the Government to publish the figures on where money is spent on support services for veterans. It’s important to know which areas are receiving vital funds to ensure people in Barnsley who have served their country are given the support they deserve.You can watch my comments in Parliament here.
The Government has taken billions from the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme without paying a single penny in.The scheme must be amended to give more money to retired miners.You can watch my comments on this in Parliament here.
It was good to visit Elsecar Holy Trinity Primary.Great to meet with headteacher Mr Silverwood and chat to teachers and students.
I had a lovely evening at the Dearne Valley Landscape Partnership celebration event in Elsecar - it was great to hear about all the different projects and volunteers working to preserve our environment and industrial heritage over the last five years.Find out more here.
I had lots of fun taking part in the Parliamentary tug of war in memory of Jo Cox and for a very good cause, Macmillan Cancer Support.