MINISTERS will not apologise for the treatment of mining communities by Margaret Thatcher's government during the 1984/5 miners' strike because it was held without a proper national ballot, Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude has said.

Mr Maude said those campaigning for reconciliation and transparency will have to wait for Cabinet papers from the time of the strike when they are released under the 30-year rule.

Shadow Cabinet Office minister Michael Dugher had demanded an apology and full disclosure of communication between Mrs Thatcher's government and the police during the strike to address the sense of injustice among former mining communities.

Loading article content

Mr Dugher made his appeal in the wake of the National Archives' release of Cabinet papers from the 1980s which indicated the Thatcher government had secret plans to close 75 pits and considered sending in troops to break the strike.

He called for action before the 30th anniversary of the Battle of Orgreave in South Yorkshire on July 18.

But Mr Maude, who represented a large mining community in North Warwickshire during the strike, said the papers would be released in the normal way and no apology would be forthcoming.

Mr Maude said: "I saw first-hand the violence, the intimidation, the divided communities, in a dispute that took place without a proper national ballot being held.

"So you asked for an apology - no."