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Durham Miners' Alan Mardghum hits back at right over Tory invite row

DURHAM Miners’ Gala organiser Alan Mardghum hit back against a right-wing media backlash yesterday after he said newly elected Tory MPs were not welcome at the event.

His comments on Tuesday sparked a flurry of frothing outrage in the Tory media with Durham miners being labelled “dinosaurs.”

Mr Mardghum said the row started when PM Boris Johnson visited Sedgefield parliamentary constituency in County Durham after it fell to the Tories in last year’s general election.

“A reporter asked Johnson if they would be attending the Gala. He said yes and asked for the date,” said Mr Mardghum.

“I said I’d rather be dead in a ditch than invite Boris Johnson or any Tory MPs.

“I can’t ban them from coming to Durham. If they come I can’t stop it, but if they come they might have to discuss it with Durham Police.

“The media translated that as a threat — but that was never, never intended.

“We have lots of meeting with the police before the Gala, when 200,000 people turn up. But the media turned it round into a threat.

“Since then there have been comments about us being dinosaurs which I am just ignoring.

"Anyway we are not going to invite any Tory MPs. I’d rather face the wrath of the media than the wrath of the Durham miners.”

He also scorned a comment by Michael Gove that for the first time in its history the Gala would take place in a Tory constituency.

“They didn’t take Durham City where the Gala is held,” he said. “The Gala will be in a Labour constituency.”

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