Friday, 18 April 2014

Anger over UK Government secrecy

An angry Katy Clark MP has condemned the UK Government’s refusal to publish papers relating to a 40 year-old industrial dispute that saw some workers jailed, including Ricky Tomlinson who went on to become and actor, starring as Jim Royale in the television comedy the Royale Family.

Citing “national security”, the Tory-Lib Dem Government continues to keep secret the documents surrounding the treatment of building workers who became known as the Shrewsbury 24. In 1972 the men were involved in what was the first UK-wide strike by construction workers.

Ms Clark, who has long supported the cause of the Shrewsbury 24, had asked for a meeting with the UK Justice Minister Simon Hughes to discuss publication of the documents following a conclusive House of Commons vote that called on the government to release the files it holds. However, the Liberal Democrat MP declined to meet Katy Clark.

There remain serious concerns over the convictions of the Shrewsbury 24 in 1972, with several documents highlighting legal flaws in the prosecution case and claims that the then Tory Government exerted political pressure on the supposedly independent Crown Prosecution Service.

Katy Clark told the3towns, “It is extremely disappointing that Ministers are continuing to withhold the truth from the public about the Shrewsbury 24. On 23rd January the House of Commons voted by 120 votes to 3 in favour of the publication of the remaining classified documents relating to this case. The fact the Government continues to refuse to do so makes a mockery of our democratic system.”

The Labour MP for North Ayrshire & Arran noted, “We have now reached a stage where the Minister responsible is even refusing to meet with Members of Parliament to discuss this issue and is desperately trying to pass the blame onto Ministerial colleagues. Such behaviour is contemptible given surviving members of the Shrewsbury 24 have waited over forty years for justice.”

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