FORMER Labour leader Richard Leonard has repeated his demand for miners arrested during the strike to be compensated ”as soon as reasonably practicable”.

The MSP has tabled an amendment to the Scottish Government’s Miners Strike Pardons Bill calling for the creation of a “scheme or schemes for providing financial redress to a miner, or the legal representatives of any deceased miner covered by the pardon.” 

Justice Minister Keith Brown has previously ruled out the Scottish Government paying compensation, saying it is a matter for the UK Government.

In Scotland, there were roughly 14,000 strikers, and by the mid-1980s approximately 1,400 had been arrested, with over 500 convicted. 

The numbers here were significantly higher than south of the Border where just 5 per cent of striking miners were arrested. 

In Scotland, approximately 206, or 1.5% of the total number of striking miners, were dismissed. In England and Wales, the figures were 0.61%.

With fewer than 10% of British miners, and around 10% of convictions for offences related to the strike across the UK, Scotland has had more than 30% of the dismissals.

It’s not clear why proportionately more of those on strike in Scotland suffered arrest and dismissal than elsewhere. A recent report into the strike by QC John Scott, commissioned by the Scottish Government, described it as an “unanswered question”.

As well as compensation, Scottish Labour has called on the government to widen the scope of who can be offered a pardon and what they can be offered a pardon for.

In its current form, the legislation only covers miners arrested for three specific offences, and only when they were on picket lines, at demonstrations or travelling to and from them. 

Scottish Labour MSP Pam Duncan Glancy has tabled an amendment calling for a broader definition to cover those arrested in the community. 

A separate amendment in her name would also see pardons open to “family members, friends and all those standing in solidarity” with the miners. 

Ms Duncan-Glancy said: “Miners were badly let down. No one should experience what they did, just for standing up for their rights at work. And neither should their family and friends or those who stood in solidarity with them.

“This historic injustice has affected whole communities for decades. It’s high time we sent a clear signal to workers everywhere that they can stand up for their rights, without fear of losing their job or being criminalised for doing so.”

Mr Leonard said the Scottish Government needed to take responsibility for the compensation scheme. 

“Miners were arrested by Scottish police, prosecuted by Scottish procurator fiscals and sentenced by Scottish sheriffs in Scottish courts.

"Scotland has a historic opportunity to right these wrongs and finally give these families the full justice they have deserved for so long.”

During the stage one debate in March, Mr Brown told MSPs that the government simply weren’t able to provide compensation. 

“We neither have the records or the powers to look at all the issues that a full UK public inquiry could perhaps consider,” he said.

“By bringing forward the bill the Scottish Government is within its existing powers seeking to recognise disproportionate and often unforeseen, and long-lasting consequences which fell on miners as a result of their convictions.

“The pardon, therefore, symbolises a desire to heal old wounds by removing the stigma of a conviction for those who meet the qualifying criteria.”

“It is really important that the reserved powers that would be necessary to validate and approve compensation payments are brought to bear in relation to this matter,” he added.