Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn visits under-threat Rother Valley constituency just hours before polls open

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn made a last-gasp stop in Rotherham's threatened Rother Valley consituency just hours before the polls open with a promise of an inquiry into the notorious 'battle of Orgreave' during the miners' strike.

Wednesday, 11th December 2019, 5:59 pm
Updated Wednesday, 11th December 2019, 5:59 pm

A third of a century since the clash between miners and police during the year long strike, emotions remain raw and there were two banners among the crowd waiting to greet Mr Corbyn when he arrived in Dinnington to support Labour candidate Sophie Wilson in the seat vacated by Labour stalward Sir Kevin Barron.

Among his first words as he stepped off the coach which had by then toured 82 constituencies were: "I am very pleased to see an Orgreave banner; there are two.

"A Labour Government will open a public inquiry into Orgreave and there are many other wrongs of the past that have to be righted," he said.

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Jeremy Corbyn meets Labour memebers at a rally in Dinnington on the last day of campaigning before the general election. Picture: Chris Etchells

The Conservatives have made it clear they regard Rother Valley - historically a Labour heartland - as a winnable seat due to public disillusionment over Brexit.

But Mr Corbyn was insistent that his policy of taking a neutral stance to negotiate a fresh deal which could then be put as an option in a referendum was the correct path to re-unite the country.

His key points were on the NHS and the economy, however, with an insistance that Conservative trade talks with the USA would end with increased costs as American firms became involved in running parts of the service and increasingly long patents for drugs from American suppliers would increase bills.

He told hundreds who gathered outside Dinnington Resource Centre and waited for his delayed entourage to arrive from Middlesborough: "Some patients are apparently being treated on the floor, many waiting hours and hours in accident and emergency on trollies.

Jeremy Corbyn meets Labour memebers at a rally in Dinnington on the last day of campaigning before the general election. Picture: Chris Etchells

"I am in no way critical of NHS staff, doctors and nurses. I am very critical of the Government," he said, blaming them for underfunding and bringing in profit-making private firms for contracts worth billions of pounds.

"It is money that ought to be spent on patient care," he said, "Our Government will properly fund the NHS and make sure it is a public NHS," he said.

Jeremy Corbyn meets Labour memebers at a rally in Dinnington on the last day of campaigning before the general election. Picture: Chris Etchells
Jeremy Corbyn meets Labour memebers at a rally in Dinnington on the last day of campaigning before the general election. Picture: Chris Etchells