Useful Notes / Dennis Skinner

"Is my right hon. Friend aware that, in the 1970s and a lot of the 1980s, we would have thanked our lucky stars in the coalfield areas for growth of 1.75 per cent.? The only thing growing then were the lines of coke in front of boy George [Osbourne] and the rest of them."

Dennis Skinner is a famously left wing British Labour MP, and has been since 1970. Nicknamed the "Beast of Bolsover" for his acerbic style (see the page quote) and the name of his constituency. He was born as the third of nine children in a mining town, and he was a miner himself before he became an MP. He's often controversial, and has been thrown out of the House of Commons a number of times for breaches of order (including the page quote, and once when he accused Margaret Thatcher of being prepared to bribe judges). He's also famously anti-Monarchy, and usually makes a snarky comment to the Queen's messenger during the state opening of parliament.

Ironically given his frequent hammerings of Tory MPs caught having affairs, he himself was caught having an affair during the "dirty Nineties" period where British politics lurched from one sex scandal to another every other week. This led some to call him "the Beat of Legover."

In 2017 a documentary film, Nature Of The Beast, is scheduled to be released detailing his life with interviews from his brothers.

Tropes associated with Dennis Skinner:

  • Badass Grandpa: A political version. Even at the age of 85 he still asks pointed questions and knows how to rile the Conservative Party.
  • Expy: A character with more than a few similarities him pops up in Houseof Cards UK - he sits in the same place, with the same haircut, Derbyshire burr and irreverent remarks toward his opponents. The only difference is his surname has been changed to 'Badger', which is what Mr Skinner loves to do.
  • The Heckler: During Black Rod's appearance in the House of Commons, during the State Opening of Parliament.
    • It's been going on so long now that it's considered a traditional part of the ceremony.
  • Holding the Floor: Often. Most famously on January 20th 1989 when he and others spoke for several hours to avoid an anti-abortion bill being debated. Also lampshaded by the deputy speaker in a recent debate on funding for the monarchy:
    Mr Deputy Speaker: Order. This is going to come as a great disappointment to you, Mr Skinner, but you cannot talk this Bill out because at 6 o’clock, I am going to put the question. If you could now refer specifically to the Bill, we would be grateful.
  • Screw Politeness, I'm a Senior!
  • Worthy Opponent: In the 70s, even while belonging to the same political party, he would often have charged debates with Dr. David Owen, a Labour "moderate". In the 80s when Owen left to co-found the SDP, the vitriol increased between the two tenfold. At various points they both threatened to punch each other out. (They both had similar short fuses although Skinner could definitely be described as the Red Oni to Owen's Blue Oni).