A Very British Conspiracy

“Turnbull leaves no stone unturned … Her tenacity and unwavering belief in workers’ rights leads the way and would be a thought-provoking read for many … An inspiring and dedicated piece of work”

– Sian Collinson, National Education Union Magazine
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For the first time the full story of this case has been told in a book entitled, A Very British Conspiracy: the Shrewsbury 24 and the Campaign for Justice. It has been written by the Campaign’s Researcher & Secretary, Eileen Turnbull and published by Verso Books, the largest independent, radical publishing house in the English-speaking world.

The book tells the full story of how the state prosecuted the North Wales building workers and the campaign that was established to overturn this miscarriage of justice. It shows how the state used the criminal justice system to secure convictions, revealing how, in the absence of hard evidence, the Police and prosecution went to extraordinary lengths to criminalise trade unionists.

Eileen, as the voluntary Researcher for our Campaign discovered the crucial fresh evidence that would get the pickets’ convictions overturned. But during that 12-year quest she also discovered an enormous amount of information about the building workers strike and the prosecution of the North Wales pickets. The book outlines the government and police documents that revealed the careful planning of the prosecution of the 24 men.

The book was successfully launched at a packed fringe meeting at the TUC Congress in Brighton on Wednesday 19 October. The TUC General Secretary, Frances O’Grady, gave a keynote speech alongside Mark Serwotka (PCS General Secretary), John McDonnell MP, Jim Mowatt (Unite’s Director of Education) and investigative journalist Laurie Flynn. The Morning Star filmed the event.

Frances O’Grady, TUC General Secretary, launches A Very British Conspiracy, at the 2022 TUC congress.

Further launch meetings were held in The Casa, Liverpool and the Bolton Socialist Club. Eileen has spoken about the book at a number of trade union meetings and continues to be invited to conferences and union events to explain the issues contained in the book.

The book is available on Verso’s website.

All proceeds from the book go to The Casa, the club and meeting place set up in 2000 by sacked Liverpool dockworkers. It continues to provide a vital facility for the trade union and labour movement on Merseyside and beyond.


“This is the moving and inspiring story of the determined search for justice for the modern day equivalent of the Tolpuddle martyrs against the full might of the establishment and the heroic role played by a very special woman.”

– John McDonnell, MP

“Incisive, compelling and moving. Exposes in forensic detail how the Conservative government, police and judiciary interfered in legitimate trade union activity, colluding against building workers fighting for dignity, decency and safety. And charts how a 47-year struggle for the truth overturned one of the worst miscarriages of justice in British history. A magnificent book about working-class solidarity.”

– Frances O’Grady, General Secretary, Trades Union Congress

“What a fantastically forensic account of one of the worst miscarriages of justice in our long trade union history. I want Eileen on my side on every occasion, her grit tenacity dedication and commitment for justice for the Shrewsbury pickets is phenomenal she truly is an inspiration to all workers. Her message is simple never ever give in never ever give up. Fight on and meet the many challenges, tell truth to power.”

– Ian Lavery MP

“Highly recommended. Eileen Turnbull’s account of the massive and meticulous conspiracy waged against the Shrewsbury Pickets is full of illuminating insights, wonderful anecdotes and stories. She exposes the British Establishment and reinforces my belief in the courage, tenacity and resilience of working class women and men.”

– Jim Mowatt, Director, UNITE the union

“This powerful story tells of the incredible courage of Eileen and the many others who fought a long battle for justice against unimaginably powerful forces. With attacks on trade unions intensifying, this book serves as a timely reminder of the importance of the labour movement and the workers it represents.”

– Mark Serwotka, General Secretary of PCS union

“An essential, meticulously researched account of government, employer and media collusion to manufacture fictitious information to demonise striking workers. It exposes the harsh reality of a system prepared to criminalise trade unionists for standing up to vindictive and abusive employers. The courageous determination of the Shrewsbury 24 Campaign and the inspirational persistence of Eileen has overturned this gross miscarriage of justice leaving us in no doubt that, when we never give up, we win!”

– Kate Flannery, Secretary, Orgreave Truth & Justice Campaign

“Eileen Turnbull is one of those extraordinary working-class heroes who should be honoured by their country but in our class-riven society rarely are.”

– John Green, Morning Star

“For the first time, Eileen reveals why the building strike was always personal to her – and why she dedicated years of her life to winning justice.”

– Ros Wynne Jones, Daily Mirror

“A history lesson with a real resonance for today.”

– Keith Richmond, ASLEF Journal

“Turnbull leaves no stone unturned … Her tenacity and unwavering belief in workers’ rights leads the way and would be a thought-provoking read for many … An inspiring and dedicated piece of work”

– Sian Collinson, National Education Union Magazine

“Without Eileen Turnbull the pickets would never have won justice … This magnificent book highlights the collusion, the deceit, the conspiracy, and the coming together of the politicians, the police, the construction employers and the judiciary. It casts a very dirty stain on the very people who profess to be the pillars of society.” 

– Barckley Sumner, buildingWORKER Magazine 

“Every now and then you read a book that you immediately want to tell other people about, that you believe is important and that what you have learned from reading it is essential for others to read. A Very British Conspiracy is such a book … Turnbull has produced a must read for all trade unionists.” 

– Stephen Smellie, Scottish Left Review