Tyne & Wear

Jeremy Corbyn at Durham Miner's Gala attracts thousands

Jeremy Corbyn and others Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption Jeremy Corbyn called the Durham Miners' Gala Europe's largest demonstration of working class culture

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has led speeches at the 133rd Durham Miners' Gala.

More than 200,000 people are estimated to have attended the Durham City event, the most since the 1960s.

There was an increased police presence including armed officers although Durham Police said there was no direct threat against the gala.

Mr Corbyn called the event "Europe's biggest demonstration of working class culture".

It is the second year in a row that he has spoken at the gala. Film director Ken Loach also addressed the crowd.

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Media captionJeremy Corbyn was interrupted by a woman on stage

Mr Corbyn told crowds: "It's incredibly important for everyone to be here today. It is the most amazing demonstration of community strength.

"It's grown out of the struggles of the miners during the 19th, 20th and now in this century, it's a community event."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Ken Loach, centre, also attended the 133rd gala
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption More than 200,000 people are estimated to have attended

He thanked those who supported Labour's general election campaign and said he was leading a "government in waiting".

He pledged to "call time on austerity" and scrap a cap on public sector pay rises as well introduce a national living wage of £10 an hour.

Mr Corbyn added: "I don't want to live in a Britain of food banks, I want to live in a Britain where people are properly fed because they are paid the wages to be able to afford the food."

He drew boos from the crowd when he mentioned Margaret Thatcher, adding: "Never again must we go through a political attack on a community such as that Thatcher mounted against the mining community."

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The event is a celebration and commemoration of Durham's mining industry

Mr Corbyn was almost finished when there was a disturbance on the stage and he was interrupted by a woman.

She appeared to be pleading with the Labour leader to speak to her and he said he would talk to her after he had finished his address.

There were chants of "Ooh Jeremy Corbyn" from the crowd throughout the afternoon and he was cheered loudly when he finished, holding his arms aloft.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The various bands started the day in different villages and towns around County Durham before meeting in Durham City
Image copyright AFP/GETTY IMAGES
Image caption There was an increased police presence at the event, including armed officers

Alan Cummings, secretary of Durham Miners' Association, said he had been predicting crowds of 200,000 people and "looking around it looks like we have got that".

He said it was a celebration of the area's history and heritage.

He also downplayed allegations that some Labour MPs who had previously criticised Mr Corbyn had been banned from attending the official functions.

Image copyright AFP/GETTY Images
Image caption The bands paraded through the city past the County Hotel from where the dignitaries watch the event
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The event is organised by Durham Miners' Assocation

Mr Cummings said: "That's not really true. Durham Miners have got virtually no income, we've had to look at the costs of our hospitality.

"It's not we don't like [those not invited], it's purely down to we have got to have a restriction on the money we spend."

Mr Corbyn refused to be drawn on the issue of some local MPs being disinvited.

Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption Bands from across the country took part
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mr Cummings said he had asked the Bishop of Durham to arrange the sunny weather

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