Cabinet papers reveal 'secret coal pits closure plan'
January 3, 2014 5:14 AM Subscribe
Newly released cabinet papers from 1984
posted by marienbad (16 comments total)
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reveal mineworkers' union leader Arthur Scargill may have been right to claim there was a "secret hit-list" of more than 70 pits marked for closure.
The government and National Coal Board said at the time they wanted to close 20. But the documents reveal a plan to shut 75 mines over three years.
A key adviser to then-PM Margaret Thatcher denies any cover-up claims.
The miners' strike began in March 1984 and did not end until the next year.
Other papers from 1984 reveal warnings of violence outside the Libyan embassy, in which WPC Yvonne Fletcher was killed.
The files also contain details of three warnings received by the Foreign Office of possible violence at the demonstration outside the Libyan embassy - known as the Libyan people's bureau - on the morning of 17 April 1984.
Guns planted in British embassy
A note in the files from Margaret Thatcher's private secretary, Tim Flesher, said the Italians, who were by then looking after British interests in Libya, passed on the serial numbers of the weapons the Libyans claimed to have found.
Police in London concluded they came from a batch bought from a dealer in London by the Libyan people's bureau. This, Flesher wrote, "suggests a quite extraordinary degree of incompetence on the part of the Libyans".
On that morning WPC Fletcher died and 11 people were injured when a machine-gun was fired into a crowd of anti-Gaddafi demonstrators from the windows of the bureau in St James's Square in central London.