Roger Windsor

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Roger Windsor was chief executive of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) between 1983 and 1989, including during the 1984 miners' strike. He later moved to France.

Windsor was accused of damaging the image of the union by visiting Libya during the strike and meeting Colonel Gaddafi, at the time an enemy of the United Kingdom. Windsor was despatched to Libya by Arthur Scargill and Peter Heathfield (NUM General Secretary) in order make a direct appeal for funds from Libyan trade unionists, but, for reasons still not clear, met Colonel Gadaffi and film of the two men embracing was shown on British TV. The Sunday Times' report on his visit was credited by some[who?] with substantially undermining public and parliamentary support for the miners.

In 1990, Windsor was involved in media reports concerning Arthur Scargill's misuse of union funds and receipt of funds from Libya, allegations which were substantially based on Windsor's evidence. The story was initially reported on the front page of the Daily Mirror and in the Central TV programme The Cook Report, with Windsor paid £80,000 for his support in the investigation. Gavin Lightman QC was requested to undertake an enquiry into the manner in which NUM funds and the £1 million donation by Russian miners were used during and after the miners' strike and found that Scargill had failed to properly account for substantial amounts of money including bank accounts opened in the name of Scargill's mother and Nell Myers (Scargill's PA). When Lightman decided to publish his findings in a Penguin paperback, Scargill obtained a court order to have it withdrawn from circulation. Then Mirror editor Roy Greenslade later wrote an article apologising to Scargill, saying he was now sure the allegations had been untrue. Windsor himself was later found by the French courts to have signed documents he claimed were forged by Scargill, and ordered to repay funds to the NUM.[1]

Some of his actions during and after the strike led to accusations that he was an agent of MI5. The allegations were raised in Parliament, but could not be challenged outside it due to parliamentary privilege. After the allegation was repeated in a 21 May 2000 newspaper article in the Sunday Express by Rupert Allason, Windsor in 2003 won a libel action against the Express and its then editor, Rosie Boycott. The head of the MI5 branch responsible for 'monitoring' unions and strike activity at the time of the strike, Dame Stella Rimington, gave a clear denial in 2001, saying that Windsor was "never an agent in any sense of the word that you can possibly imagine", and, in breach of normal government protocol, John Major, the Prime Minister, made an official statement that Roger Windsor was never involved with the government.

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References[edit]

  • Seumas Milne, The Enemy Within (1994)

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