18/2/81: Margaret Thatcher gives in to miners

On 17 February 1981 the BBC announced that the Conservative Government led by Mrs Thatcher had withdrawn plans to close 23 coal mining pits in its first major u-turn since coming to power in 1979. The Secretary of State for Energy David Howell made the concessions at two hours of crisis talks in Whitehall involving union leaders and Department of Trade and Industry officials.

pic.: PA / guardian.com
In 2012 The Guardian reported how Thatcher had described the miners in personal papers as "basically reasonable people" and did not fear that they would follow leader Arthur Scargill to cause further disputes. Mr Scargill went on to lead the miners in a year-long strike - the longest ever in the UK - from March 1984, when the Coal Board announced the closure of 20 pits.

sources: BBC, guardian.

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