Share your views on the Miners' Strike (Pardons) Scotland Bill

Closed 14 Jan 2022

Opened 3 Dec 2021

Published responses

View submitted responses where consent has been given to publish the response.

Overview

The Scottish Parliament’s Equalities, Human Rights and Civil Justice Committee wants to hear your views to help it consider the Miners’ Strike (Pardons) (Scotland) Bill.

Background

The miners' strike was a bitterly fought industrial dispute which lasted from 12 March 1984 to 3 March 1985. In the years that followed the strike, there were questions about whether it was policed in a fair way and whether the justice system treated miners fairly, as well as the way in which certain miners who were arrested were dismissed from their jobs. In 2018, the Scottish Government launched an independent review of the policing of the miners’ strike. The review specifically looked at the impact the policing had had on communities.

The independent review's final report was published in 2020. The report recommended that the Scottish Government should pardon people convicted of certain offences related to the strike. In October 2020, the Scottish Government announced that it had accepted in principle the Independent Review’s recommendation on pardons but would give consideration to the qualifying consideration that might apply to the pardon.

In March 2021, the Scottish Government launched its consultation into the qualifying criteria for the pardon. The Scottish Government published its response on 13 September 2021 which stated that the findings indicated that there was broad support for the pardon and that the only qualifying criteria should be the range of offences to be covered by the pardon.

Purpose of the Bill 

The Scottish Government’s Policy Memorandum sets out the main purpose of the Bill:

  1. To provide for an automatic pardon for miners convicted of the offences listed in section 2 of the Bill subject to certain conditions listed under section1 of the Bill being met
  2. The conduct must have occurred between 12 March 1984 and 3 March 1985 inclusive
  3. The conduct must have occurred during and in the course of a miner’s participation of a picket line, demonstration, or other similar gathering in supporting the strike or from conduct connected with travelling to a picket, demonstration of gathering in support of the strike.

The Policy Memorandum states that the primary objective of the Bill is intended to be symbolic and collective and to present an opportunity to bring reconciliation between those who were upholding the law and those who were fighting to protect their jobs, livelihoods and communities.

It is recognised that many miners suffered disproportionate consequences for taking part in the strike and the pardon is intended to remove the stigma of any associated convictions.

Committee’s call for evidence 

Those submitting evidence to the Committee should feel free to address any, or all, of the policy issues contained in the Bill.

It would be helpful if any written submissions could address the following questions:

  1. Whether the legislation is necessary or whether an alternative approach should be considered.
  2. Your views on Section 1 of the Bill which limits the pardon to picketing/demonstration and connected travel. 
  3. Your views on Section 2 of the Bill which details the range of offences which are covered by the pardon. 
  4. Whether previous or subsequent convictions should disqualify a miner from receiving a pardon. 
  5. Any other comments you have regarding the Bill  

How to submit your views 

Please submit your views using the online submission form. 

We welcome written views in English, Gaelic, Scots or any language. 

The call for views closes on Friday 14 January 2022.

Interests

  • Equalities