January 21, 2020
A row has erupted after the president of a former miners’ union said he would “rather be found dead in a ditch” than invite newly-elected Tory MPs to its annual festival. 
Tory MPs Vow To Attend Durham Miners Gala – Despite Claims Theyll Need Police Protection
But Conservative politicians have vowed to attend anyway – despite claims they will need police protection to do so – with one MP saying she would “see you there”.
The Durham Miners Gala – one of the largest socialist festivals in Europe celebrating the area’s coal mining heritage – is held every July and often welcomes political attendees.
A bruising election result for Labour saw seven new Conservative MPs elected to represent the north east. 
But Durham Miners Association president Alan Mardghum told the BBC they would not be welcome at his event. 
“Categorically no chance,” he said. “To paraphrase [Boris] Johnson, I would rather be found dead in a ditch than invite them, or Johnson, to the gala. 
“Why would we invite Tories to the Durham Miners Gala? They did their best to absolutely destroy the Durham miners and the miners of Great Britain.”NEW “I’d rather be found dead in a ditch” than invite Conservative MP’s to the Durham Miners Gala. Any Tory MP planning to attend the event “might need to speak to the police to ensure they’re safe on the day”.Durham Miners President Alan Mardghum on new Northern Tory MP’s 1/ pic.twitter.com/L7jgK9Mw0K— David Rhodes (@davidrhodesBBC) January 21, 2020Mardghum said he could not stop MPs visiting the area as “it’s a free country”.
But he added: “I would suggest if any of them are thinking of coming in [...] then they speak to the police to make sure they are safe on the day.”
Bishop Auckland MP Dehenna Davison hit back on Twitter, writing: “See you there, Alan.”
Lee Anderson, the newly-elected Tory MP for Ashfield, supported his parliamentary colleague, tweeting: “As an ex-miner and a Conservative MP I would be glad to join you my friend.”
And former Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson tweeted: “There are 7 seats in County Durham. Tories took 4 of them in last month’s election. 123,112 people voted @Conservatives vs. 122,547 @LabourParty voters.
“We’re the majority. ‘Othering’ conservative representatives & voters only means we stay that way.”
Past speakers at the gala have included exiting Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, his would-be successor Rebecca Long-Bailey and former north east Labour MP Laura Pidcock. Related... Miliband 'Follow In Footsteps' Of Labour Greats With Gala Speech Corbyn Pledges North 'Investment Blitz' And Attacks 'Shameful' Boris Johnson Over Tax Cuts Plan Five Eyebrow-Raising Moments From Jeremy Corbyn At The Durham Miners' Gala
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