Banner group marches on at Durham Miners Gala - without MP

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Members of a mining heritage group took their place among thousands at the Durham Miners Gala - but without their MP.

Harton and Westoe Miners Banner Group displayed their banner with pride in Durham City for the 132nd ‘Big Meeting’.

The group were led by Westoe Brass Band as they made their way along the traditional route to the racecourse fields.

However, unlike last year, they were not joined by South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck after they took the decision to ban her from having any association with the group or the banners.

The move was taken following the MP resigning from her post as shadow minister communities and local government during the leadership crisis which has engulfed Jeremy Corbyn.

Chairman of the group, John Watson, said: “This Gala was probably one of the most important and I think the answer to all the doubters was given in the turnout.

“This gala was probably one of the most important and I think the answer to all the doubters was given in the turnout.”

John Watson

“It is the most I have ever seen in all the years I’ve been attending the Gala.

“Listening to the speeches it was a tremendous the show of support for what everyone is standing for.

“This isn’t about Jeremy Corbyn or an individual, it’s about the basic principles being undermined by a group of activists within the Labour movement. This is about leading the party to fight for the right things.

“We need people to believe in a different kind of politics and the turnout was a massive show of support for what we are trying to fight for.

“The day itself was fantastic and there is such a special kind of atmosphere associated with the Gala, however, this year it seemed more electric.

“There is a lot of enthusiasm around the Gala and it’s great to see the numbers continuing to turn out and support such a great event.”

Mr Watson will be putting a vote to members in due course as to whether Mrs Lewell-Buck should be invited to a meeting in which to give her reasons behind her resignation.

Also representing South Tyneside’s coalfield heritage at the Gala were members of the Boldon Colliery Miners and Community Banner Group.