Durham Tory MP Blocked from Durham Miners’ Gala Membership

A culture war of an entirely different kind is raging in the North East as new-intake Tory MP Richard Holden has been blocked from becoming a registered Friend of the Durham Miners’ Gala after a personal intervention from the head of the organisation blocking his application. In rare socialist behaviour, he at least got his money back…

A few months ago, new-intake Durham MPs made headlines when they were told by Union Secretary Alan Marghum there was “no chance” they would be welcomed and he would “rather die in a ditch” than see them turn up. Difficult to enforce given there are now more Tory voters in County Durham than Labour…

To prove his sincerity, Holden applied to become a “Marras” (friend) of the parade, paying his £24 membership fee. He’s since received a personal letter from the Chair of the group, in which he was told:

“It is very much a ‘by the people, for the people’ event and has been since 1871 when the nascent Miners’ Association held the first on in the City of Durham… It is on this point I write to you personally. It was felt that you should have the opportunity to fully acquaint yourself with the founding principles of the organisation… I am returning your £24 donation (cheque enclosed).”

Holden fired back, saying he was sad and disappointed in the letter’s “high-handed and patronising prose” and requested his application is reconsidered:

“It appears that you fail to understand that I couldn’t have been elected without the widespread support of both Trade Union members and their families.”

After Holden dared point out more mines were closed under Labour than the Conservatives, Guido can understand why the left-wing jamboree might want to keep his heresy away from its remaining attendees…

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