IT would be for the UK to decide if miners who are pardoned for historic convictions linked to strikes should receive compensation, Scotland’s Justice Secretary has said.

Keith Brown rebuffed calls for the Scottish Government to consider paying compensation as part of its plans to pardon miners convicted over strike action in the 1980s.

Challenged by Labour’s Richard Leonard about whether compensation should be paid for the “injustices perpetrated on the miners, their communities, but also on their families”, Brown said it was an issue for Westminster.

He stressed that there is “very little surviving evidence from police and court records” from the time, so the Scottish Government was proposing a collective pardon for all those who qualify.

Brown argued that trying to introduce a compensation scheme could delay miners from being pardoned, was not within the Scottish Government’s powers and it was the UK Government who had responsibility for policing and the justice system at the time of the strikes.

The Scottish Government is planning to pardon living and dead coal workers convicted of certain offences during the miners’ strike of 1984-85 as they attempted to prevent pit closures by Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government.

SNP MSP Fulton MacGregor said he was “very much in favour of compensation” but now believed it shouldn’t be considered alongside the pardons bill.

Brown stressed that employment and industrial relations are reserved to the UK, so if the compensation is looking to compensate for loss of earnings, loss of pension, or loss of other rights, then the Scottish Government wasn’t party to this – and wasn’t in existence at the time.

He added: “We have and will continue to press UK Government to hold a full public inquiry and that is the place where those kinds of issues should be discussed or addressed.”