London Parliamentary Press Conference Report

London Parliamentary Press conference 23 January 2013

The campaign held a well-attended press conference in Westminster on the 23rd January, chaired by John McDonnell MP. The speakers included Frances O’Grady, General Secretary of the TUC, union General Secretaries Len McCluskey (Unite) and Steve Murphy (UCATT), MP’s Tom Watson, Steve Rotheram, David Hanson and Dennis Skinner, and Ken Loach, Film Director and Lord Doug Hoyle.

Ricky Tomlinson opened the meeting by expressing his anger that the Government had taken the decision to keep the documents secret for another 10 years without informing him or any of the other pickets. We discovered this by accident when picket Terry Renshaw wrote to his local MP, David Hanson, in 2012 to ask the Government about the release of the documents. David told the meeting that he received a reply from Chris Grayling dated 20 November 2012 stating that they would be kept under a “security blanket” until the matter was reviewed again in 2021.

Eileen Turnbull, the researcher of the campaign, said that the announcement from government that they intend to continue to withhold vital information from the public for the foreseeable future is a huge setback for the campaign in our fight for justice for the Shrewsbury pickets. She reported that there are ‘date’ gaps in the documents which are currently in the public domain at the National Archives at Kew. There are also redacted documents, many stamped ‘Top Secret’. Eileen pointed out that for the Criminal Cases Review Commission to be able to consider fully the pickets’ application they will need sight of these documents.

John McDonnell spoke in support of the release of the documents and called it a travesty that the information was being held back. Tom Watson echoed the call for government transparency: ‘The pickets had a right to see what information is being held back’. Ken Loach made an impassioned speech calling upon the trade unions to support the pickets. He said that the e-petition should easily meet the 100,000 target if the membership of trade unions were encouraged to sign it. He called upon the unions not to let the pickets down. Steve Rotheram explained his role in the government’s eventual release of information concerning the tragedy at Hillsborough. He knows what an uphill struggle it is but as a former building worker he is committed to supporting the campaign in its fight for justice for the 24 pickets.

Dennis Skinner and Doug Hoyle gave an historical perspective about their involvement in attempting to get the pickets released in 1974 when they were both young Labour MPs. They pledged their support for the campaign.

Frances O’Grady gave a detailed speech outlining the TUC’s full support for the campaign. Len McCluskey and Steve Murphy said they were going to contact their respective memberships and encourage them sign the e-petition.

Len said, “I’m asking all Unite members to sign the petition calling for full disclosure of all the papers related to this case. We have seen, through the phone hacking scandal and tragedies like Hillsborough, how vital transparency is to achieving justice. So please sign the e-petition now.”

http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/35394

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Left to right: Len McCluskey, Steve Rotheram, Frances O’Grady, Eileen Turnbull, Ricky Tomlinson, John McDonnell, Steve Murphy and Terry Renshaw.

Paliamentary Press Conference Jan 2013

Left to right: Len McCluskey Steve Rotheram Frances O’Grady Tom Watson Ricky Tomlinson John McDonnell Steve Murphy and Terry Renshaw.

Steve Rotheram MP

Steve Rotheram MP

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Left to right: Len McCluskey, Frances O’Grady, Lord Doug Hoyle, Ricky Tomlinson, John McDonnell and Steve Murphy.

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Left to right: Steve Rotheram MP, David Hanson MP, Frances O’Grady and Lord Doug Hoyle and Steve Murphy (speaking).

Ken Loach

Ken Loach

Lord Doug Hoyle,  Ricky Tomlinson,  John McDonnell MP

Left to right: Lord Doug Hoyle, Ricky Tomlinson and John McDonnell MP

 Len McCluskey and Ricky Tomlinson

Len McCluskey and Ricky Tomlinson

Ricky Tomlinson and Steve Rotherham

Ricky Tomlinson and Steve Rotherham

Shrewsbury 24 Campaign committee members and supporters.

Shrewsbury 24 Campaign committee members and supporters.

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