Monday, 11 February 2013

Britain is still a country for and says "Happy Birthday" to the grand old Parliamentarian, the 'Beast from Bolsover', Dennis Skinner

Dennis, who has been a Labour Party, Member of Parliament for Bolsover for the last 43 years is 81 years old today.

What you possibly didn't know about Dennis, that he :

* was born in Clay Cross, Derbyshire, the third of nine children of coal miner Edward Skinner, who was sacked after the 1926 General Strike.

* was a bright lad who went to Tupton Hall Grammar School a year early at the age of 10 and after leaving school worked as a miner from the age of 17 to 38, during which time he became an National Union of Mineworkers leader and Clay Cross Labour Party Councillor.

* studied at Ruskin College College Oxford before becoming a Member of Parliament in 1970 and remains loyal to the policies on which he originally was elected into office, reflected by his membership of the Socialist Campaign Campaign Group.

* over the years has taken a liberal stance on social issues, voting in favour of civil partnerships, adoption rights for same-sex couples and to outlaw discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.

* in 2003, was one of a large number of Labour MPs who voted against the Iraq War and later rebelled against the party line when he voted against Government policy to allow terror suspects to be detained without trial for 90 days and in 2007, voted against Government policy to renew the Trident Nuclear Missile System.

*  has been 'suspended' from Parliament on at least ten occasions, usually for "unparliamentary language" when attacking opponents and whose infractions have referrered to, in :

1992, the Minister of Agriculture, John Gummer ( left ) as "slimy" and a "wart".
1995 , the Government's plans to sell off Britain's state owned coal mines as a "crooked deal."
2005,  the economic record of the Conservatives in the 1980s, making the remark about George Osborne ( right ), the Shadow Chancellor as  "The only thing that was growing then were the lines of coke in front of boy George and the rest of the Tories".

* by tradition reveals his republican sentiments by cracking jokes, usually about the Royal Family and the traditional costume of  'the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod' when he arrives in the House of Commons to summons the Members of the Commons to the House of Lords to listen to the Queen's Speech with, in :
1987, "Tell her to sell up!",  referring to the tightening of belts in Britain.
1988, "Hey up, Here comes Puss In Boots!"
1989,  "It's a good outfit!"
2001,  to the new Black Rod, Michael Willcocks (right),  "You're nowt but a midget!"
2005, "Has she brought Camilla with her?"
2008,  "Any Tory moles at the Palace?" to which the retiring Black Rod, Michael Willcocks said : "I shall miss you Dennis".
2012, "Jubilee Year, Double-Dip Recession, What a start!", referring to the Queen's Jubilee year and Britain's entry into a second economic recession.

* refuses to :
- miss a session of the House of Commons saying : "if you missed a shift at the pit, you would get the sack".
- adopt the 'pairing system' in a mutual abstention with a Conservative MP, saying he won't cover for them whilst they "go swanning off to Ascot or to their boardrooms".
- eat alongside parliamentary colleagues in the Commons dining room or drink in the Bar.
-  take trips or holidays 'paid for' by others;
- attend to the Queen's Speech in the House of Lords ( left ), the abolition of which he advocates.

* 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 and wears a distinctive tweed jacket , whilst most other MPs wear suits and his signature red tie and has gained the sobriquet, 'the Beast of Bolsover' for falling foul of the procedures of Parliament, many of which are in his view archaic and contemptible.

Dennis in his own words :
Speeches, quips about Black Rod, work as a coalminer

Questioning  Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's Downing Street expenses

Questioning  Prime Minister Cameron 2011
and 2012

On occasion with Black Rod

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