THE SNP Government has rejected calls to hold a public inquiry into the convictions of striking miners during a highly charged debate.

Ministers were told by Labour MSP Neil Findlay they had a "moral duty" to review the convictions of nearly 500 Scottish miners during the 1984-85 dispute with claims they had been convicted on bogus grounds.

However, Community Safety Minister Roseanna Cunningham said she would "strongly commend" the idea of individuals challenging their criminal records through an independent procedure.

Law firm Thompsons is planning to take five test cases of miners to the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) in a bid to overturn the convictions, which Ms Cunnigham said was the correct way forward.

Mr Findlay gave a series of examples which he said echoed incidents in which English police have been proven to have perverted the course of justice in relation to arrests during the strike. The Lothian MSP highlighted the cases of miners from Polkemmet in Whitburn, Bilston Glen and Castlehill who insist they were snatched by police having done nothing wrong.

He said: "Time only allows me to provide these few examples of the 1400 cases. And, of course, it was not just a criminal record that these people received. Over 200 were sacked and lost their redundancy entitlement and afterwards found it difficult to get work – no doubt because they were blacklisted."

He said Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill had as a young lawyer taken up the cases of miners, adding: "There is a deep feeling these convictions are unsafe and that there must be such an inquiry."