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Dennis Skinner

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Leader  Neil Kinnock
Majority  11,778 (26.8%)
Party  Labour Party
Preceded by  Harold Neal
Role  British politician
Succeeded by  Jo Richardson
Name  Dennis Skinner
Preceded by  Neil Kinnock
Nationality  British

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Full Name  Dennis Edward Skinner
Born  11 February 1932 (age 88)Clay Cross, Derbyshire, England (1932-02-11)
Spouse  Mary Parker (m. 1960–1989)
Children  Dawn Skinner, Mandy Skinner, Dennis Skinner
Education  Ruskin College, University of Sheffield, Tupton Hall School
Parents  Edward Skinner, Lucy Skinner
Similar People  Tony Benn, Gerald Kaufman, Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell, Michael Meacher

Dennis skinner mp condemns thatcher era

Dennis Edward Skinner (born 11 February 1932) is a British Labour politician who has been Member of Parliament (MP) for Bolsover since 1970. He was Chairman of the Labour Party for one year from 1988–89 and served as a member of Labour's National Executive Committee, with brief breaks, for thirty years.


Dennis Skinner Dennis Skinner Wikipedia the free encyclopedia

He is known for his left-wing views and is considered to have an acerbic wit. He is a member of the Socialist Campaign Group of Labour MPs.

Dennis Skinner Dennis Skinner voted off Labour national executive

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Early life and career

Dennis Skinner Dennis Skinner on his tough start in life including

Born in Clay Cross, Derbyshire, Skinner is the third of nine children. His father Edward Skinner was a coal Miner who was sacked after the 1926 general strike and his mother Lucy was a cleaner.

Dennis Skinner Dennis Skinner MP 39To Be a Socialist You Have to Be an

In 1942, at the age of 10, Skinner won a scholarship to attend Tupton Hall Grammar School after passing the eleven-plus a year early. In 1949, he went on to work as a coal miner at Parkhouse colliery until its closure in 1962. He then worked at Glapwell colliery near Chesterfield.

In 1964, he became the youngest-ever president of the Derbyshire region of the National Union of Mineworkers. After working for 20 years as a miner, he became a member of Derbyshire County Council and a Clay Cross councillor in the 1960s.

In 1967, he attended Ruskin College, Oxford, after completing a course run by the National Union of Mineworkers at the University of Sheffield.

Parliamentary career

In 1956, Skinner joined the Labour Party. He was first elected as MP for the safe Labour seat of Bolsover at the 1970 general election and has retained it ever since then. He was a strong supporter of the National Union of Mineworkers and their leader Arthur Scargill in the 1984-85 miners' strike.

Skinner has voted for equalisation of the age of consent, civil partnerships, adoption rights for same-sex couples and to outlaw discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, and has a strongly pro-choice stance on abortion. On 20 January 1989, he talked out a move to reduce the number of weeks at which termination of a pregnancy can be legally performed in Britain by moving a writ for the Richmond by-election. On 7 June 1985, he talked out a bill by Enoch Powell which would have banned stem cell research by moving a writ for a by-election in Brecon and Radnor. Skinner later described this as his proudest political movement.

In 2000, Skinner denounced former ally Ken Livingstone, then serving as a Labour MP. Livingstone had failed to win the party's nomination to be a candidate for Mayor of London, and had then decided to run as an independent candidate instead, urging his supporters to help Green Party candidates get elected. Skinner said that Livingstone had betrayed Labour Party activists in his Brent East constituency, whom he described as having fought for him "like tigers" when his majority had been small: "He tells them he's going to be the Labour candidate, then he lies to them. To me that's as low as you can get". He contrasted Livingstone with the official Labour candidate, Frank Dobson, saying that Dobson was "a bloke and a half... not a prima donna ... not someone with an ego as big as a house". Skinner said Livingstone would "hit the headlines, but you'll never be able to trust him because he's broken his pledge and his loyalty to his party... The personality cult of the ego does not work down a coal mine and it does not work in the Labour Party". Conversely, despite his left-wing views Skinner had a positive relationship with Prime Minister Tony Blair, a leading figure on the right of the party, stemming from advice that Skinner gave Blair regarding public speaking.

In 2003, Skinner was among the quarter of Labour MPs who voted against the Iraq War; he later rebelled against the party line when he voted against government policy to allow terror suspects to be detained without trial for ninety days. In 2007, Skinner and 88 other Labour MPs voted against the government's policy of renewing the Trident Nuclear Missile System.

Skinner supported David Miliband in the 2010 Labour leadership election, which was won by his brother Ed Miliband; with a very small margin. In March 2011, he was one of 15 MPs who voted against British participation in NATO's Libya intervention.

In 2014, he was voted off Labour's national executive committee. In the same year, he stated that he has never sent an email, and does not have a Twitter account.

Skinner was one of 36 Labour MPs to nominate Jeremy Corbyn as a candidate in the Labour leadership election of 2015. He later supported Corbyn, alongside the majority of Labour MPs, in voting against the extension of RAF airstrikes against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in Syria on Wednesday 2 December 2015.

Skinner voted for Britain to leave the European Union. He favours outright abolition of the House of Lords.

Following the death of Sir Gerald Kaufman, Dennis Skinner became the oldest serving MP, but did not become Father of the House despite being elected to parliament on the same day as Kaufman and Conservative MP Kenneth Clarke in 1970. This is due to the way seniority is calculated; when two or more MPs were elected on the same day, the one who was sworn in first is considered to be the more senior. Skinner stated in 2015 that he would not accept the honorific title.


Skinner has been suspended from Parliament on at least ten occasions, usually for "unparliamentary language" when attacking opponents. Notable infractions have included:

  • Twice in 1984 once for calling David Owen a "pompous sod" (and only agreeing to withdraw "pompous"), and the second time for stating Thatcher would bribe judges.
  • In 1992, referring to the Minister of Agriculture John Gummer as a "little squirt of a Minister" and a "slimy wart on Margaret Thatcher's nose".
  • In 1995, accusing the Major government of a "crooked deal" to sell off Britain's coal mines.
  • In 2005, when referring to the economic record of the Conservatives in the 1980s, making the remark, "The only thing that was growing then were the lines of coke in front of Boy George and the rest of the Tories", a reference to allegations originally published in the Sunday Mirror of cocaine use by the Shadow Chancellor, George Osborne (though, in the Commons, Skinner referred to the News of the World).
  • In 2006, accusing Deputy Speaker Sir Alan Haselhurst of leniency towards remarks made by opposition frontbencher and future Prime Minister Theresa May "because she's a Tory".
  • In 2016, for referring to Prime Minister David Cameron as "Dodgy Dave" in relation to Cameron's tax affairs.
  • Queen's Speech quips

    Known for his republican sentiments, Skinner has regularly heckled during the annual Queen's Speech ceremony. He does this upon the arrival of Black Rod (the symbol of royal authority in the House of Lords) to summon MPs to hear the Queen's speech in the Lords' chamber. The best known, according to the New Statesman and other sources, are listed as follows:

    Commons attendance

    He usually sits on the first seat of the front bench below the gangway in the Commons (known as the "Awkward Squad Bench" because it is where rebel Labour Party MPs have traditionally sat) in a tweed jacket (whilst most other MPs wear suits) and signature red tie. He is known as "the Beast of Bolsover": according to Skinner he earned the nickname for his behaviour in a tribute debate in the Commons following the death of former Conservative Prime Minister Anthony Eden - "They were making speeches about the wonder of Anthony Eden, so I got up and talked about miners and people seriously injured and dead in the pits and the £200 given to the widow... There was booing and then all the Tories left and the papers had a go, some serious ones".

    Nature of the Beast documentary

    After filming over 2015 and 2016, a documentary Nature of the Beast was completed in 2017 by production company Shut Out The Light. The documentary traces Skinner's rise to political icon status and covers his working-class upbringing, his family influences and his hobbies away from "The Palace of Varieties". Skinner's four surviving brothers and several of his Bolsover constituents are interviewed in the documentary, which is due for release in September 2017.

    Personal life

    In 1960, Skinner married Mary Parker, with whom he has three children who all attended his old school, and graduated from the University of Manchester. They separated in 1989. His current partner is former researcher Lois Blasenheim.

    In 1999, Skinner was diagnosed with advanced bladder cancer and subsequently had surgery to remove a malignant tumour from his bladder. In 2003, recovered from a double heart bypass operation.

    Skinner's mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease prior to her death in the 1980s. Skinner sang to his late mother when she was diagnosed with the disease and was inspired by her ability to recall old songs. Since 2008, he has visited care homes in Derbyshire to sing to elderly patients with dementia.


    Dennis Skinner Wikipedia