COWDENBEATH MSP Annabelle Ewing brought the Miners' Strike of 1984-85 to First Minister’s Questions in the Scottish Parliament on Thursday, to ask what the Scottish Government's response was to the report of the independent review into policing during the miners' strike.

Ms Ewing is very aware that her constituency was a highly active part of the dispute between March 1984 and March 1985 with several incidents between NUM pickets and police, and many local miners being arrested and appearing in court.

Before posing her question on Thursday Ms Ewing said: "The strike left deep scars in mining communities across Scotland not least in the Cowdenbeath area and not least of these was the lasting effect that criminal investigations had on the lives of men who were simply trying to defend their jobs, families and communities."

In reply to the MSP's question First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “The miners’ strike of 1984/85, of course, divided people in many ways, with miners - and indeed police officers - often finding themselves in challenging situations and I know the very strong feelings about the strike, particularly on the part of miners and their families, remain to this day.

“So, I understand that many of those affected are eager to see the report and the Scottish Government’s response and I can confirm that the Justice Secretary plans to report the Scottish Government’s response to Parliament by the middle of October and the independent report will be published at the same time.”

In response to the First Minister’s response, Ms Ewing said: “I thank the First Minister for her answer, and I would take this opportunity to commend all those who have campaigned for so long to secure justice for these miners.

“I understand that the Report will in fact recommend pardons for those men who were only trying to defend their jobs, their families and their communities. I hear what the First Minister says, but I’m sure that my constituents in Cowdenbeath and in former mining communities across Scotland would be keen to have an indication of the intention – in terms of a matter of principle – that the Scottish Government will act to right those wrongs.”

The First Minister further replied: “Can I thank Annabelle Ewing for her question and can I agree with the sentiments of it. "I think many of us who had our formative teenage years around the time of the miners’ strike will always remember the impact of that and the very strong feelings. And the kind of community I grew up in - I absolutely understand that.

“I hope Annabelle Ewing will understand it would not be appropriate for me to pre-empt today the publication of the Report and the publication of the Government’s response by the Justice Secretary, which, as I say, will happen within the next couple of weeks and I think it would be better for everybody concerned to allow those to be read and understood properly.

“What I would say is that I very much hope that miners and the families of miners will welcome both the recommendation in the Report and the response of the Government and that I hope they will feel at that point that there has been a recognition of what many do consider to be the injustice that was suffered."

Speaking afterwards, Ms Ewing said: “I am pleased that I got the opportunity to raise this important issue with the First Minister today and while I appreciate her reticence in pre-empting the process by which the Governments’ response will be issued, I think that there was a clear indication in both the tone of her responses and the phrases she chose, that the Scottish Government fully understands – personally and politically - the position of former miners and their families on this issue.”