Stephen Hepburn MP: Don’t hold your breath waiting for a May visit

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What a joy it was to host in Jarrow the brilliant John McDonnell, the man who would be Chancellor of the Exchequer in a Labour Government.

Incompetent, indifferent Theresa May couldn’t find her way to South Tyneside even with a sat nav but Labour’s national leadership love our area.

McDonnell’s successful visit to the area, where he spoke to a packed meeting of Jarrow Constituency Labour Party members, followed the mobbing of Jeremy Corbyn when he joined us for two days last year to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Jarrow Crusade.

The genuine enthusiasm for Labour is a recognition the party’s policies - steady jobs, £10 minimum wage, opportunities for the young, free education, money for the NHS, respect for the elderly, more houses - are what our region needs.

And John McDonnell, like Jeremy Corbyn before him, didn’t hesitate to sign the petition to save services at South Tyneside Hospital. Top men!

Contrast the Labour team’s interest, support and solidarity with the chaos of Tories who are behind threats to our hospital with their so-called Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STP) - the initials should stand for Slash, Trash and Privatise - and have reduced the value of wages back to what they were in 2006.

With prices going up far faster than pay rises, spending powers reduced so most people are worse off than they were a decade ago.

That’s a terrible record of Tory economic failure and former Conservative Chancellor George Osborne’s praise for Gordon Brown’s handling of the 2008 global financial collapse, admitting the catastrophe blew in from the US and the then Labour PM did the right things, nailed Conservative propaganda that Labour spending somehow was responsible.

It never was. Borrowing and debt increased because greedy, reckless banksters vandalised the British economy. An apology is owed by the Tories, by the way, who continue spreading these lies to further their own political interests.

Time after time the Tories keep on spinning untruth after untruth but the reason “Tory” is such an unpopular word in the North East isn’t hard to find.

Tyne and Wear didn’t elect a single Tory MP at the last election and there isn’t a single Conservative councillor on South Tyneside.

Economic growth and employment rates in the North East are worse than the average across the UK.

In South Tyneside unemployment is double the national average and this does not take into account those on zero-hours contracts whose number has increased by 20 per cent in the last year alone.

From the Universal Credit cuts and Bedroom Tax to bulldozing gaping holes in the thin blue line by dumping police officers, we’re paying too high a price for Tory misrule from London.

The biggest indictment of the appalling misrule under Tory Britain over the past seven and half years lies on our own doorstep. In South Tyneside alone, for example, the number of households who are left with no choice but to turn to the charity of a foodbank to survive is up a staggering 300 per cent since the Tories stumbled in to power in 2010.

The Conservatives were, are and always will be a party of the wealthy and a Home Counties elite who don’t care about the rest of the country, including our beloved corner.

John McDonnell’s from Liverpool, Jeremy Corbyn from the Midlands. Both understand the mosaics that are England and Great Britain. If Theresa May fancies coming up from the Home Counties, I’ll show her around but I wouldn’t hold your breath.

She’d demand the red carpet treatment, selected people standing in line with name tags and instructed to paint a false picture. I’d want her to meet Geordies raw and uncut. She’d go home with a flea in her ear, appreciating why the people in this area will never accept a Tory government!