Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Labour Could Lose North, Says Leadership Contender

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Labour Could Lose North, Says Leadership Contender

Article excerpt

Byline: Rachel Wearmouth Regional Affairs Reporter

LABOUR must speak up for its North East stronghold or the region will follow in Scotland's footsteps and oust its MPs en masse, leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn warns. As the left-wing candidate prepares to speak at the Durham Miners' Gala today, he called on his Labour colleagues to show "solidarity" with their North East supporters in the wake of an austerity-heavy Budget from the Chancellor as he urged the party not to take the region for granted.

Referencing UKIP's support at the general election, he said: "Labour did better in this region than anywhere else. We won nearly 90% of the seats in the region, but still lost in Stockton South, one of our key target seats.

"Scotland shows the Labour vote cannot be taken be for granted anywhere. UKIP is now second in 10 Labour seats in the North East.

"People want to see Labour speaking up for them and standing with them in their demands. If we start doing that again then Labour will be fine, if not then Scotland shows what can happen."

He described the gala as a celebration of Durham's history and the role that the region and coal-mining played in the development of modern Britain.

He added: "But it is more than that. It is a community celebration of solidarity and defiance, remembering too the struggles in which people united to defend their communities. The same community spirit and trade union solidarity that the gala celebrates will be what keeps it going for many years yet.

"It is one of the iconic North East events that draws people to Durham from across the region an indeed the country.

"We often use the word 'solidarity' when we talk about socialist principles and unions, but what does 'solidarity' mean? It means everyone caring for everybody else. …

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