CAMPAIGNERS have hailed a “huge breakthrough in the fight for justice” after it was announced an independent review will be carried out into the impact of policing during the miners’ strike of the 1980s.

Almost 500 Scottish miners were convicted during the 1984-85 dispute, which saw brutal clashes between officers and picketing workers.

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson insisted Scotland would now lead the way in ensuring questions are finally answered, adding: "Some of our communities have been blighted by the shadow of that time for too long."

READ MORE: Calls for Hillsborough-style inquiry into the miners’ strike 'ignored'

The move was met with celebrations from those who were caught up in the unrest more than 30 years ago, and who have long campaigned for their voices to be heard.

Bob Young, 74, from Dunfermline, was arrested seven times when he was chairman of the pit at Comrie in Fife, before being sacked after ending up in court.

A miner from the age of 14, he alleges he was specifically targeted and harassed by police, and eventually hopes for a full, Hillsborough-style inquiry.

He said: “For 30-odd years we’ve been fighting and fighting and fighting, and trying to get some sort of inquiry – it didn’t matter at what level. And this is probably one of the best days of my life.

“The things that happened during the strike, with the policing, were totally out of order. We just wanted our voices to be heard, and instead we’ve been shouted down by successive governments.

“At the end of the day, I hope there’s clarity on exactly what happened to us. The strike was hard enough, but see being sacked? That was much harder.”

Mr Matheson called on the UK Government – which has already ruled out an inquiry into the violent confrontations between police and striking miners in Orgreave, South Yorkshire, in 1984 – to follow suit.

He said it had an obligation to "fully explore the extent of any political interference" by the then government, under Margaret Thatcher.

READ MORE: Calls for Hillsborough-style inquiry into the miners’ strike 'ignored'

Scotland’s review will be led by lawyer John Scott QC, who will make his recommendations by June next year.

Scottish Labour MSP Neil Findlay, who has long campaigned for an inquiry into the miners’ strike after seeing the impact first-hand as a teenager during the 1980s, hailed the move as a “huge step forward in the fight for justice”.

He said: “Scottish miners suffered disproportionately from the impact – with just 10 per cent of the overall UK mining workforce Scotland saw 30 per cent of the sackings following arrest.

“Many of these workers lost not just their jobs and income, but their relationships, their homes and many their mental and physical health.

“Some were blacklisted and others went to their graves the victims of a miscarriage of justice with a criminal conviction against their name when the reality was they had done nothing wrong.”

UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn also welcomed the review, insisting it must establish if the arrests and convictions were “unjust and politically motivated."

He added: "The UK Government must now listen to campaigners and launch an independent inquiry into the brutal clashes between police and miners during the strike in 1984, not least at Orgreave, where so many questions still need to be answered."

Mr Matheson said there were "constraints" around the kind of review the Scottish Government could establish, but left the door open to a full inquiry if necessary.

He said the review team will also include former independent MSP Dennis Canavan, former police assistant chief constable Kate Thomson and Jim Murdoch, professor of public law at Glasgow University.

The miners' strike, which lasted from March 1984 to March 1985, took place after Mrs Thatcher announced plans to close a number of pits which were deemed "inefficient".

READ MORE: Calls for Hillsborough-style inquiry into the miners’ strike 'ignored'

Mr Matheson told MSPs: "I know from the conversations I have had that, although more than three decades have passed since the dispute, the scars from the experience still run deep.

"In some areas worst affected the sense of having been hurt and wronged remains corrosive and alienating."

Mr Scott said many documents of potential relevance were now publicly available, adding: “These will have to be considered but I am also keen to listen to individuals and communities directly affected.”