LABOUR leader Ed Miliband will be attending Durham Miners's Gala this year - the first leader of the party to do so for 22 years, it has been confirmed. Organisers of the Gala said they were delighted Mr Miliband had accepted their invitation to attend and address the event on Saturday July 10.

Gala organiser George Robson said: "It is not before time.

"We are delighted that Ed Miliband has accepted our invitation. It has been some time since we have had a Labour leader come and speak.

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"We could never understand why leaders of the Labour Party never accepted our invitation - every year since Neil Kinnock broke the mould (after 1989).

"Whatever their reasons for not attending . . . that is for them to answer. Perhaps they wanted to disassociate themselves from the left wing of the Labour movement."

The event was once one of the biggest on the Labour political calendar.

But it fell out of favour as Labour became New Labour and divested itself of trade union trappings. The last time a Labour leader spoke at the event was Neil Kinnock in 1989.

Before then every leader in Labour party history had attended, either as leader - and Prime Minister in Clement Attlee and Harold Wilson's cases - or before they became leader.

Last year David Miliband was invited, but the Gala was held at the height of the leadership race for the Labour party, and he did not attend.

The event still attracts thousands of people to the Durham city centre on the second Saturday in every July.