Tomlinson out to quash 1973 conviction


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The Independent Online

Actor Ricky Tomlinson is campaigning to overturn a 39-year-old picketing conviction and takes his fight to this week's Labour Party conference.

The Royle Family star was one of 24 building workers charged under the 1875 Conspiracy Act in Shrewsbury in 1973 with six of the pickets imprisoned, including Tomlinson, who served 16 months of a two-year sentence for conspiracy to intimidate.

Supporters say the "Shrewsbury 24" were victims of a "government plot to intimidate trade union members" and their campaign claims a cover-up is preventing cabinet papers on the matter being released. It has launched an e-petition on the Number 10 website asking for "full disclosure of all Government documents relating to the 1972 building workers strike and the conspiracy trials at Shrewsbury".

Tomlinson, 73, said he wants to clear his name before he dies. "I'm 73," he said. "The oldest of the lads is in his mid-80s. We want the convictions quashed before we snuff it. What happened to us – and even worse what happened after Hillsborough – show the depths the establishment will sink to."

The e-petition, which has been signed by around 1,150 people so far, requires 100,000 signatures to generate a Commons debate.