'Tony Blair's closest lawyer friend plotted against striking workers'

Marc Wadsworth - The-Latest EXCLUSIVE

Which is more of a political scandal? The revelation that right-wing British prime minister Margaret Thatcher set up a secret Cabinet committee during the titanic miners' strike of 1984, which threatened to topple her government.

(And that committee had the power to create 'a police state' within a week, if Thatcher, 'the iron lady', declared a national emergency as a result of the potentially crippling industrial action.) Or, that the former Labour head of the justice system, Lord Falconer - a close friend of prime minster Tony Blair - once worked for the boss of the Coal Board as a lawyer against the mine workers' union.

My colleague David Hencke, of The Guardian, has used the UK's Freedom of Information Act (FOI) to uncover these politically embarrassing facts. He also told me that CCTV cameras were used extensively by the authorities to spy on the miners and their supporters.

Hencke said: 'My newsdesk has a real appetite for mischief-making stories again and the revelations I will be making about the hidden story of the historic miners' strike fit that bill. The many FOI enquiries I have made have turned up some really interesting facts that raise serious questions about the state of British democracy in 1984, and Lord Falconer's work as a junior lawyer, for Ian McGregor, the boss of the Coal Board, in his epic, Thatcher-backed struggle against the miners.'

The miners, under fire-brand left-wing leader, Arthur Scargill, lost the almost year-long strike over pit closures. Their defeat broke the effective resistance of trade unions and the labour movement to the Conservative government. A previous strike had succeeded in bringing down the Tory administration of prime minister Edward Heath.

* I hope this story spurs on The-Latest.Comers entering our  £50 competition for the best FOI scoop. Deadline: May 1.