| Thousands of people gathered at the annual Durham Miners Gala Photo Neil Terry | MR Online Thousands of people gathered at the annual Durham Miners’ Gala. (Photo: Neil Terry)

Starmer branded an ‘absolute disgrace’ at Durham Miners’ Gala

Originally published: Morning Star Online on July 10, 2023 by Ben Chacko (more by Morning Star Online)  | (Posted Jul 11, 2023)

LABOUR leader Sir Keir Starmer was not flavour of the month at the Big Meeting in Durham at the weekend.

Durham Miners’ Association general secretary Alan Mardghum said it was an absolute disgrace that the Labour leader had punished MPs for standing on picket lines in support of striking workers.

“I stand in solidarity with every worker in dispute,” Mr Mardghum said,

and not just with workers in dispute–I stand in solidarity with Jeremy Corbyn and Ken Loach!

As the crowd erupted into chants of “Oh, Jeremy Corbyn” the DMA leader added:

These two individuals have done more for the working class and to fight social injustice than Keir Starmer ever has.

Labour’s leader had been invited to the gala, not to speak but to sit on the platform, however he had claimed a prior engagement for the second year running, Mr Mardghum revealed, prompting a chorus of boos.

DMA chair Stephen Guy said there was “an opportunity for a political party to step up to the plate and show its support for workers.

We need a democratic socialist party whose elected representatives are encouraged to stand with workers in dispute and support them on picket lines.

In a Q&A session about his new film The Old Oak, film director Ken Loach said the miners’ gala was an opportunity to stand in solidarity with Mr Corbyn and North of Tyne Mayor Jamie Driscoll, who has been excluded from a long-list of candidates for the North East regional mayoralty.

PCS union president Fran Heathcote said New Labour had been a creation of the Tories,and slammed the “character assassination” deployed against Mr Corbyn when he had led a Labour Party committed to real change.

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