JEREMY Corbyn, who is facing a leadership challenge from Angela Eagle, has been buoyed by overwhelming support in the North-East today.

The 67-year-old Labour Party leader was among thousands of supporters at Durham Miners’ Gala, the annual trade union event born out of region’s industrial heritage.

Countless thousands turned out for the 132nd Big Meeting, despite the rain, and gave the veteran left-winger a show of support and solidarity amid political turmoil within the Parliamentary Labour Party.

Several MPs, who failed to back Mr Corbyn, were barred from taking part in official proceedings by Durham Miners’ Association, and earlier today Wallasey MP Angela Eagle said she would launch a leadership bid on Monday.

But those loyal to the Islington North MP said he remained the best man to lead the party against the Tories into the next General Election.

Bolsover MP Dennis Skinner, who was inundated with requests for autographs after a trademark barnstorming speech, said: “It has been a critical time, but I tell you Jeremy has measured up to the task and woe betide anyone who tells you, when you see a crowd like this, that it is impossible for him to win an election.

“We have won three by-elections under Jeremy already. He will fight on. We have got a leader we can trust.”

The Northern Echo:

Dennis Skinner MP and Angela Raynor MP on the Gala platform 

Mr Corbyn has faced widespread resignations in his shadow cabinet since the UK’s referendum vote to leave the EU but Labour Party membership has swelled by 100,000 in the last two weeks.

He said: “There has been a lot of debate about that what is happening within the Labour Party and I am inundated with questions, questions, questions all of the time and I have patience that is infinite to answer questions, questions, questions.

“I was today asked how I cope with the pressure. There is no pressure on me.

“None whatsoever. Real pressure is not having enough money to feed your kids.

“Wondering how you are going to survive or wondering how you are going to cope with the debts you have incurred.

"Wondering if you are going to get a call with a few hours work or wondering if you are going to get a call when you are on the bus to tell you they have changed their mind.

"That is the real pressure in our society. That is the kind of pressure that is put on people everyday of the week in this country.”