“IT’S a day for the lads and some of their families to get together and look back over the time they worked at the pit – anything else that might be happening that day is purely coincidental.”
Durham Miners’ Association secretary Alan Cummings today hit back at claims it was planning a party to mark the funeral of Barnoness Thatcher.
It is hosting an event at Easington Colliery Workingmen’s Club on Wednesday, but Mr Cummings said it was to mark the 20th anniversary of the pit’s closure and not celebrate the passing of the former Prime Minister.
The association has been at the centre of a global media storm after reports it was planning a party.
“The event must have been organised four weeks before Thatcher died,” said Mr Cummings.
“We couldn’t hold it at a weekend because the club has things on, so we arranged it for next Wednesday – it could just as easily have been the Tuesday or the Thursday.”
Easington MP Grahame Morris said he understood the anger many constituents feel towards The Iron Lady.
“Baroness Thatcher presided over the destruction of the mining industry, and the mere mention of her name evokes understandably strong emotions in East Durham,” he said.
“I had promised myself that on the day that I heard that she died, I would not celebrate her passing but would seek some quiet reflection amongst my own people of what political lessons we should learn from her premiership.”
He added: “Whatever people think of her, it is appropriate, however, to reflect on Baroness Thatcher’s legacy that we are still living with three decades on. Hers was an era which saw huge job losses in our traditional heavy industries – coal, steel, shipbuilding, manufacturing and in the supply chain here in the North East.
“Her failure to comprehend that the British economy had been systematically weakened by a post-war failure to rebuild manufacturing and her ideological fundamentalist belief that markets always know best were deeply damaging to the country and especially to the regions.”