TRADE unionists, MPs and leader of the Labour party Jeremy Corbyn are among those to be speaking at the 135th Miners’ Gala.

The longer-than-usual line-up includes North West Durham MP Laura Pidcock, Unite leader Len McCluskey and shadow attorney general Shami Chakrabarti.

Shadow business secretary Rebecca Long Bailey, Dave Prentis, general secretary of Unison, Dave Ward, general secretary of The Communications Union, Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union and Doug Nicholls, general secretary of the General Federation of Trade Unions will also be taking to the stage on Saturday.

Alan Mardghum, president and secretary of the Durham Miners’ Association, said: “It’s more than usual but we’re trying to make it special for the 150th year of the DMA.

“There’s lots going on. One thing we will never be short of is high profile speakers.”

Accepting her invitation, Ms Pidcock described the gala as an “annual pilgrimage”. She said: “I’m truly humbled to be asked to speak on the famous platform this year.

The Northern Echo:

North West Durham MP Laura Pidcock

“It will be tinged with sadness for my family and I though, because my father died a few months ago. My dad used to say that the gala was his ‘Christmas Day’. He loved it and would look forward to it all year.”

Baroness Chakrabarti will also speak at the Dave Hopper Memorial Lecture, which takes place at Durham Miners Hall, Durham, on Friday, at 5pm.

She said: “Dave Hopper was a tireless fighter for DMA members, their communities and the wider working class. I’ll be proud to give this lecture in his memory in the magnificent setting of The Pitman’s Parliament.”

The event also features Ed Yankovich, Vice-President Emeritus of the United Mine Workers of America and will be introduced by Mr Mardghum.

The Northern Echo:

Shami Chakrabarti, speaking at the Durham Women's Gala