Petition to clear the names of Shrewsbury 24

A petition with more than 100,000 signatures calling to clear the names of the Shrewsbury 24, who were convicted over a builders' strike 40 years ago, will be presented at Downing Street on Monday.

Petition to clear the names of Shrewsbury 24

Royle Family actor Ricky Tomlinson, one of the 24 men convicted over pickets during the 1973 strike, will be among those handing over the petition.

Mr Tomlinson, who was working as a plasterer at the time, has always claimed the protests were peaceful and the police accompanied the 300 pickets throughout.

The 24 men were accused of intimidating workers and violent picketing during a national building workers strike, while they were in Telford in 1972.

Mr Tomlinson was jailed for two years by Shrewsbury Crown Court for conspiracy to intimidate. He turned to acting when he found himself blacklisted from building work on his release from Leicester Prison in 1975.

Two months ago, the 74-year-old TV star appealed for those who watched sentencing in the case at Shrewsbury Crown Court in December 1973 to come forward and let him know their opinions of the verdicts and sentences.

He has always maintained his innocence.

The "Shrewsbury 24" campaign group wants all documents related to the case to be released, claiming they would prove a "massive miscarriage of justice".

It said a paper version of the petition had been signed by about 70,000 people with 37,000 signing online.

Eileen Turnbull, the group's researcher, said: "We are delighted with the progress we are making and are convinced that the unjust convictions will be overturned."

Steve Murphy, general secretary of construction union Ucatt, said: "Parliament now has a moral duty to debate the case and the government must come clean and publish all the papers."

The Criminal Case Review Commission is investigating a submission by the campaigners made last April that the original case was political and an abuse of power by the Conservative government of the day.

The Government announced earlier this year that papers on the case will not be made public until at least 2021 on the grounds of national security.

The Conservative Party has not commented.

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