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'Full of class prejudice': Ballet snobs outraged as UK politician dares to claim football is as important as arts (VIDEO)

12-11-2020 < news RT 18 535 words

Conservative Member of Parliament Jake Berry has faced a backlash in the UK after defending the importance of northern football clubs struggling to survive during the Covid-19 pandemic - with a ballet company leading the critics.

The MP for Rossendale and Darwen, which has been one of the areas in the UK worst affected by the crisis, used an opportunity in parliament to promote the vital position of football clubs in communities.

Berry told a debate that dozens of lower league football clubs in the north were just as loved by locals as major opera houses and theatres were to people in the south.

"For many people who live in London and the south of England, things like the opera house and ballet will be at the heart of their culture," said Berry, who has been involved in efforts to boost the economy in northern England through his former role in the 'northern powerhouse' initiative.

"But for many of us in the North it is our local football club... Blackburn Rovers, Accrington Stanley, Barrow, Carlisle or Sunderland."

Northern Ballet, which has around the same number of Twitter followers as the lowest-placed team mentioned by Berry, League Two Barrow, accused him of perpetuating stereotypes that people in the north place "less value" on culture than those in London.

"Culture is equally important to a huge percentage of people in the north," they said, describing themselves as "disappointed" by the remarks.

Labour MP for Liverpool Riverside Kim Johnson hit back at Berry: "Tell that to the five theaters, eight museums, three art galleries and more music venues than you can count here.

"You might have ignored the people who work in them but they are the soul of Liverpool. But yeah, two fantastic football clubs too."