Leading Labour MP tells Burnley May Day Festival she is 'proud to be northern and working class'

Burnley MP Julie Cooper, Angela Rayner MP and Peter Thorne from UNISON
Burnley MP Julie Cooper, Angela Rayner MP and Peter Thorne from UNISON
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Heavy rain failed to dampen the spirits of Burnley socialists who descended on Towneley Park for the town’s latest May Day Festival.

The 42nd annual festival again saw a trades union parade from Burnley Town Hall to the park where headline speaker Shadow Secretary of State for Education Angela Rayner spoke.

Around 300 people braved the weather to hear Mrs Rayner who spoke about the effect of Government policies on the North.

The Ashton-Under-Lyne MP said: “People in the South hear our accents and think we’re stupid, but we’re not stupid, we know what they are doing.”

She added how proud she was to be from the North and to be working class, something she felt not enough people talk about these days.

Paul Jenkins of Unite Against Fascism spoke about the danger of Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (aka Tommy Robinson) being elected as an MEP for the North-West and urged people to use their vote, as did Burnley MEP Wajid Khan.

Other speakers included a steward from care home provider Alternative Futures Group, where there is currently a major dispute over ‘sleep-in’ allowances.

Finally, Burnley MP Julie Cooper spoke about the disastrous effect of Tory policies on Burnley, mentioning education cuts, Universal Credit, and council funding cuts.

After the speeches there was entertainment from the Red Rose Brass Band, Bollywood dancer DJ Kash, a drum circle and finally an hour of 1960s music from local group Badger Sett.

Storyteller Peter Chand entertained children and adults alike in the marquee where there were the usual stalls, most of whom did a roaring trade as people went inside to shelter from the rain.

There was also a fun fair, two displays by the Pendle Dog Agility Club and donkey rides.