Westminster Hall Debate 2015

Labour MP Steve Rotheram and Shadow Home Secretary Andy Burnham lead a comprehensive debate in Westminster Hall on Wednesday 9th December. The two MP’s spoke passionately on behalf of our campaign requesting the government to release all the files relating to the charges, trials, and convictions of the the Shrewsbury Pickets in 1973/4.

Steve Rotheram MP

Steve Rotheram MP.

The debate was called in response to Oliver Letwin MP’s announcement that the cabinet have reviewed the withheld documents and decided not to release them to the national archives at Kew for public scrutiny. The next scheduled review will be in 2021.

Steve accused the government of cynically delaying the release of the papers so as the remaining pickets die before the truth of government interference in the trials is exposed and the pickets receive the justice they deserve. He stated that,

The Government say that they have only withheld 3 letters and – a security services report. We believe that there is much, much more than that on file.

He read out a list of documents which our campaign maintains exist in the cabinet archives. He called upon the government in the interest of natural justice to release them now.

Andy Burnham MP, Shadow Home Secretary

Andy Burnham MP, Shadow Home Secretary.

Andy Burnham made a spectacular speech; he went through some of the documents which have been unearthed by the researcher of the campaign. He stated that:

This series of documents puts beyond any reasonable doubt that fact that the Shrewsbury trial was politically-driven by the Home Secretary of the day.


I put it to the Minister that the continuing failure to disclose will lead people to conclude it has less to do with national security and more to do with the potential for political embarrassment were what happened back then to become more widely known.


If the Minister disputes that, I say simply this: clear it up once and for all; let the truth speak for itself; publish all the documents.

Steve Rotheram MP with members of the Shrewsbury 24 Campaign in the background.

Steve Rotheram MP with members of the Shrewsbury 24 Campaign in the background.

Watch the debate

Andy Burnham’s speech starts at 15:21:00. This video is embedded from parliamentlive.tv.

The transcript can be read in Hansard.

Press coverage

Spies Rigged Shrewsbury Pickets Trial – Morning Star


The dirty tricks of the Shrewsbury trials expose the dark heart of the radical 1970s – Paul Mason in The Guardian

MPs debate the Shrewsbury 24 case – Politics live – The Guardian

Living with the consequences of the 1972 national building workers’ strike – The Guardian

Burnham backs call to publish all Shrewsbury 24 papers – The Gurdian

Tories must come clean on Shrewsbury 24 ‘show trial’ or Labour may oppose spy powers – Russia Today

Shrewsbury 24: Government rejects calls to release files – BBC

Labour ‘wants Shrewsbury 24 papers published in return for spy powers support’ – Shropshire Star

Release Shrewsbury 24 Documents Or Labour Won’t Support Spying Powers Bill, Andy Burnham Warns – The Huffington Post

Labour threatens to fight Government’s snoopers’ charter over Shrewsbury 24 ‘injustice’ – The Telegraph

Ricky Tomlinson fears he’ll be ”dead and buried” before Shrewsbury 24 papers are released – The Mirror

Labour refuses to support new spy powers without the release of secret papers on the ‘Shrewsbury 24’ including Royle Family star Ricky Tomlinson – The Daily Mail

Ricky Tomlinson accuses David Cameron of failing to live up to transparency because government won’t release Shrewsbury 24 papers – The Liverpool Echo

National security – ‘My arse’ – UCATT

Shrewsbury 24 ‘establishment cover-up’ needs to be exposed, says Unite – Unite

Conspiracy and cover up – UniteLive

Some feedback on Twitter