THE SNP has called on the Prime Minister to visit mining communities and apologise directly after he joked about the closure of coal pits.
Boris Johnson told Scottish journalists that he thought Margaret Thatcher had given the UK a “big head start” in its transition to greener energy sources by closing coal mines in the 1980s.
He was speaking during a visit to Scotland yesterday, with his comments sparking outrage from opposition politicians who described them as crass and insensitive.
Now the SNP has urged Mr Johnson to visit affected mining communities and apologise to families whose lives were destroyed when pits closed.
Thousands of people lost their jobs, and many towns in Scotland, Wales and the north of England lost their largest source of employment.
Despite being asked if he would apologise this morning, the Prime Minsiter’s official spokesman would nto give this assurance and instead said the PM recognised the “huge impact and pain closing coal mines had in communities across the UK.”
The SNP’s chief whip, Owen Thompson, has now written to Mr Johnson to invite him to Midlothian, which he represents, and speak to those affected by Margaret Thatcher’s actions.
In a letter, sent today, he said: “I appreciate that your privileged background may make it difficult to understand the impact of the sudden loss of your livelihood on working people, so I would like to invite you to Midlothian to learn first-hand from ex-miners and their families about the devastating effect of the decisions taken by Margaret Thatcher’s government in the 80s on communities here.
“It would also enable a visit to the National Mining Museum of Scotland, to learn more about the history of the industry, the lives of miners and indeed the importance of unions as a collective voice to protect workers from exploitation.
“Perhaps by coming to Midlothian and speaking to people involved directly it would convince you not just to apologise for your insensitive comments but of the need for a long overdue inquiry into the policing of the miners’ strikes, and to finally begin the process of healing the wounds.”
Mr Thompson said he was appalled by Mr Johnson’s off-hand remarks, adding: “This displays either a breathtaking ignorance of the impact of pit closures on thousands of families and communities across the UK, or even worse, an utter lack of concern for the devastation it caused.”