MPs back the new Jarrow Marchers

CRUSADE ... Stephen Hepburn is among the MPs backing plans to recreate the Jarrow March of 1936.
CRUSADE ... Stephen Hepburn is among the MPs backing plans to recreate the Jarrow March of 1936.

POLITICIANS from throughout the UK have backed plans to recreate the Jarrow March of 1936 – including the town’s MP.

Youth Fight for Jobs (YFfJ) will stage a 75th anniversary march from Jarrow to London, starting on Saturday, October 1.

Almost 20 MPs have so far signed a parliamentary early day motion backing the modern march, with Jarrow MP Stephen Hepburn also expressing his support for the event.

Mr Hepburn said: “I will certainly be signing this EDM. Anything which highlights youth unemployment and the cuts is to be welcomed.”

But Mr Hepburn revealed he has not been contacted by march organisers, adding: “Obviously, they can’t walk down major motorways and I hope permission is being obtained from police and local authorities.”

Youth unemployment nationally has risen to a record high of almost a million and the aim of the 2011 march is to highlight joblessness among the young.

Ben Robinson, a spokesman for London-based YFfJ, which is backed by the Socialist Party, said: “Statistics reveal that there are currently one million young people who are out of work and we aim to use the march to highlight the issue of joblessness among the young.

“The plan is to set off from the centre of Jarrow on October 1, and march along the original route, as far as is possible, given the modern motorway system.

“The march will reach the centre of London on November 5, when we will stage a big demonstration through the capital.

“We hope around 50 young people will take part in the march from Jarrow, including a mixture of unemployed people and students.”

Other regional MPs who have already signed the EDM include Blyth Valley’s Ronnie Campbell, Wansbeck’s Ian Lavery and Gateshead MP Ian Mearns, plus the outspoken MP for Bolsover, Dennis Skinner.

Mr Mearns said: “As a young Labour Party member, I remember addressing the 50th anniversary protest march in Jarrow in 1986. I think it’s a good thing to commemorate the Jarrow March, as we must not forget history, or we will be doomed to repeat our mistakes.”

The original jobless Jarrow Marchers of 1936, led into London by the town’s then-MP Ellen Wilkinson, received no support from Stanley Baldwin’s government.

Jarrow’s crippling unemployment was not eased until the reopening of the town’s famous Palmer’s Shipyard several years later as part of the war effort.

The early day motion, sponsored by Hayes and Harlington MP John McDonnell, reads: “That this House expresses its support for the young people who are taking part in the March for Jobs which, in order to draw attention to the high level of youth unemployment, is retracing on its 75th anniversary the steps of the original Jarrow unemployed workers’ march; and calls on all honorable members to support the march, welcoming the marchers whenever they enter their constituencies en route.”

The original jobless Jarrow Marchers of 1936, led into London by the town’s then-MP Ellen Wilkinson, received no support from Stanley Baldwin’s government.

Jarrow’s crippling unemployment was not eased until the reopening of the town’s famous Palmer’s Shipyard several years later as part of the war effort.