ORGANISERS of Durham Miners' Gala have invited Rachel Riley to attend the event next year after she criticised a brass band for playing a traditional Israeli folk song.

The Countdown presenter, who has Jewish heritage and is outspoken about antisemitism with The Labour Party, sent out a tweet after The Big Meeting on Saturday.

She said playing Hava Negila was “as tasteful as showing Black Panther at a Klan rally.”

But Durham Miners’ Association hit back on Monday telling Rachel that her tweet was “damaging” and had hurt people.

They said: “Dear RachelRileyRR, Your damaging comments regarding one of our community brass bands have caused great hurt to good people. Hava Negila has been played at the DurhamGala by many bands over many years.

“We invite you to Durham to meet and learn from the men, women and children who play in brass bands, celebrating their own culture alongside music from around the world. Your invitation’s in the post.”

Meanwhile, North-West Durham MP Laura Pidcock has defended herself to criticism over the way she answered questions about antisemitism.

A video was published on Twitter showed her Parliamentary adviser complaining to journalists who asked her about allegations of racism in the Labour Party.

She has pointed out that she spoke at length about the issue when she was questioned by TV news reporters prior to her speech at Durham Miners’ Gala.

The video shows her assistant complaining: “That was really unfair.”

Ms Pidcock also calls the interviews “unfair” in the filmed exchange.

The video was shared on social by Labour MPs, including Phil Wilson and Wes Streeting.

Mr Wilson, who represents for Sedgefield, said on Twitter: “I have no problem answering the antisemitism question. I was at the miners’ gala and was asked about both.

“The Gala is a great tradition, my dad was 40 years a miner. On antisemitism Jeremy Corbyn should apologise on behalf of Labour cos if I was him I’d be mortified.”

London Labour MP Wes Streeting also shared the footage, saying: “I appreciate hard questions on Labour’s appalling handling of antisemitism are uncomfortable, but if you’re a shadow minister get used to it. Better still, do something to sort it out. Attack racism, not the media.”

Ms Pidcock said: “I can assure them, that after many years working for an anti-racism charity, these sorts of issues are not ones that I’d shy away from.

“That press session was supposed to be about the Durham Miners’ Gala, and the Big Meeting is something that is dear to my heart.

“I want the rest of the world to know about it and consequently was really disappointed when there appeared to be virtually no interest in the Gala, which is one of the largest working class gatherings in the world.”