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There will be a Westminster Hall debate on Potential merits of a public inquiry into Cammell Laird workers imprisoned in 1984 on Tuesday 7 February 2023 at 2:30pm. The debate will be opened by Gareth Thomas MP. 


In 1984 an industrial dispute over planned redundancies took place at the Cammell Laird shipyard in Birkenhead. As part of the dispute, some of the workers occupied a partially built warship and gas rig under construction at the shipyard. Legal proceedings seeking to remove the people involved in the occupation ultimately led to 37 men being committed for contempt of court and imprisoned for one month in Walton Prison.

Since then, some of the men involved have campaigned for a number of things to address what they allege was a miscarriage of justice, including calling for an apology from the UK Government and the establishment of a public inquiry.

Public inquiries

Public inquiries, set up by Government ministers to investigate specific or controversial events, play an important role in public life. There are two main forms of public inquiries which operate in different ways: statutory and non-statutory.

For more information about statutory public inquiries see the Library briefing paper on Statutory public inquiries: the Inquiries Act 2005.

For more information about non-statutory public inquiries see the Library briefing paper on Public Inquiries: non-statutory public inquiries.

Further information

Recent Parliamentary material about the 1984 Cammell Laird dispute, Accessed 2 February 2023

Justice for the 37 Cammell Laird strikers, Mick Wheatley MP, Morning Star, November 2021 [accessed 2 February 2023]

From Workplace Occupation to Mass Imprisonment: The 1984 Strike at Cammell Laird Shipbuilders, Stephen Mustchin,  University of Manchester, Originally published in Historical Studies in Industrial Relations, 2011

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