SEVERAL SNP MSPs have challenged Priti Patel to financially compensate miners who were pardoned of unjust convictions during the 1984-85 Miners’ Strike.

In an open letter to the Home Secretary, the MSPs argue that the compensation should be drawn from the £4.4 billion which the Treasury has siphoned as a surplus from the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme since the privatisation of British Coal in 1994 – equivalent to almost half a million pounds per day for 28 years.

Speaking on behalf of the signatories, SNP MSP Fulton MacGregor commented: “These pardons right a historic wrong and represent an important official acknowledgement of the injustice inflicted on these miners and their families.

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“And while pardons will help remove the stigma of criminality and restore dignity to those convicted, there remains the outstanding need to compensate those wrongly convicted.”

MacGregor added that given the role played by the UK Government under Margaret Thatcher, responsibility lies with the current UK Government and Patel, who MacGregor said “has a moral and financial obligation to do the right thing and give these families no less than they deserve.”

MacGregor continued: “Instead of the Treasury continuing to raid the miners’ pension scheme, they should fund appropriate compensation for pardoned miners from the very fund they would have received pensions from had they not been unjustly convicted.”

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This follows the passage of legislation in Holyrood earlier this month, which saw Scotland become the first country in the UK to pardon formers miners. However, the Scottish Government faced criticism from Scottish Labour after the combined votes of the SNP, Greens and Tories defeated Labour amendments which would have delivered financial compensation.

Justice Secretary Keith Brown argued that while he “didn’t disagree on the principle of compensation”, he would seek to discuss the matter with the Home Secretary, rather than offering compensation unilaterally.