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Labour's EU rebels not welcome at Durham Miners Gala

FIVE north-east of England Labour MPs will not be invited to the Durham Miners’ Gala after calling for a second Brexit referendum in a move widely seen as an attempt to undermine Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.

Phil Wilson (Sedgefield), Paul Williams (Stockton South), Anna Turley (Redcar), Catherine McKinnell (Newcastle-Upon-Tyne North) and Bridget Phillipson (Houghton and Sunderland South) penned an article that appeared in the Independent today.

The MPs, whose constituencies all voted in favour of EU withdrawal, wrote that the issue of Brexit is “bigger than party.”

They also argued that, since the outcome of Brexit negotiations would massively affect the north-east of England and the rest of Britain for “decades to come,” a second referendum should be held on the final deal.

Mr Wilson, who represents Tony Blair’s former constituency of Sedgefield, proudly proclaimed himself an “opponent” of Mr Corbyn in the run-up to last year’s snap general election and found himself uninvited from that year’s gala.

Ms Turley, a parachuted-in MP with no connections to Redcar, has been another vocal Blairite.

The MPs’ intervention met with criticism, being viewed by many as an attempt to undermine Mr Corbyn and Labour policy, which is to respect the result of the EU referendum.

Speaking to the Star, Durham Miners Association general secretary Alan Cummings said: “I absolutely cannot see the point in what these MPs are up to.

“My personal desire was to remain in the European Union, but the British people voted to leave. It’s a democracy.

“Phil Wilson distanced himself from Jeremy Corbyn during the general election. It was a disgrace.

“Some of these MPs were elected because of Jeremy and his manifesto. They should be grateful.”

When asked about whether these MPs would be welcomed formally at the Durham Miners Gala, which takes place in July, Mr Cummings said: “We can’t stop Wilson or any MP attending, but they will not be invited.

“We are fully committed to backing Jeremy Corbyn. I don’t know why they want to try and behave like this now.”



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