Bid for release of Shrewsbury 24 papers

MPs were today pressing for the release of papers relating to an industrial dispute more than 40 years ago that led to pickets being jailed, amid claims of a "conspiracy of silence".

Campaigners are trying to quash convictions against the so-called Shrewsbury 24, who were arrested five months after the 1972 building workers' strike and charged under the 1875 Conspiracy Act, with six sent to prison.

A 100,000-signature petition has been delivered to the Government with campaigners claiming the charges were politically motivated with government interference in the prosecutions.

Labour MP Dave Anderson has secured a backbench debate on the case, which was being held in the Commons today. Royle Family actor Ricky Tomlinson, one of those jailed, said ahead of the debate: "Unless there is action now the ban on releasing these papers won't be reviewed until 2021."

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: "It is time to end this four-year conspiracy of silence and release all the government documents relating to the Shrewsbury 24."

The group wants all documents rel-ating to the case to be released, claiming they would prove a "massive miscarriage of justice".

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