Tyne & Wear

Jeremy Corbyn to speak at Durham Miner's Gala

Jeremy Corbyn Image copyright PA
Image caption Mr Corbyn will be the first Labour leader to attend the gala since Ed Miliband in 2012

Jeremy Corbyn is to be the first Labour leader to attend the Durham Miners' Gala for four years.

The trade union gathering - also known as the "Big Meeting" - was last addressed by a Labour leader in 2012 when Ed Miliband attended.

The Durham Miners' Association (DMA) said it was "delighted" Mr Corbyn had agreed to speak at the 9 July event.

The gala, which celebrates the area's mining heritage and trade union links, was established in 1871.

Mr Corbyn attended last year before he was elected leader, and "went down very well", DMA secretary Dave Hopper said.

He added they were "looking forward to a tremendous day."

"Last year the police estimated there were 150,000 people there. That's some crowd, especially when you think there's no pits left."

Image copyright PA
Image caption In 1967 prime minister Harold Wilson was at the gala but politicians attend less regularly now

The event sees colliery bands from around the country march through the city, parade past Labour Party and union officials on the balcony of the County Hotel before gathering on the racecourse for speeches.

Mr Hopper said of Mr Corbyn: "He has filled a lot of people with confidence and he got a tremendous mandate from people in the party."

He said Mr Corbyn was "probably the first socialist since Keir Hardie" to lead the party.

"He has filled a lot of people with confidence and he got a tremendous mandate from people in the party," he said.

Mr Hopper said the absence of recent Labour leaders Gordon Brown and Tony Blair had been "a disgrace".

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