Jarrow marchers claim disputed

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In his speech this week, Mr Davis said: "It's 69 years ago this morning that my Communist grandfather joined the Jarrow march against unemployment."

But the claims were disputed by John Badger yesterday, whose late father designed the banners that the men carried to demand work from Stanley Baldwin's government. His uncle, Alfred, was one of the original 200 jobless men who set off from the poverty-stricken town for London.

Mr Badger, 77, who lives in Jarrow, said: "I'm annoyed that Mr Davis is taking licence with our heritage. The spin-doctors have been at work. I have checked the records and only men who lived in the borough were allowed to march. There is no record of a Davis or of a Harrison being on the march."

Mr Davis contrasted himself with the Eton-educated David Cameron by stressing his upbringing by a single mother on a council estate, and saying his grandfather, Walter Harrison, was one of the 1936 Jarrow marchers.

But, Mr Badger said:" I'm angry that Mr Davis has chosen to make a cheap political point by abusing the political history of this area. This is not a parochial point, but a matter of fact. Nobody from York would have been allowed to join - the march was for and about the people from ... Jarrow. This man may have walked alongside the marchers for part of the way, but that's very different from claiming he was one of the original 200 Jarrow marchers."

A spokesman for Mr Davis said: "His grandfather joined the march at South Shields, which is a short way from Jarrow, and walked all the way to London."