Dennis Skinner voted out after 49 years as Bolsover’s MP

PUBLISHED: 06:55 13 December 2019 | UPDATED: 06:55 13 December 2019

Dennis Skinner has been voted out by the Tories in one of the largest shocks of the general election. Photo: PA

Dennis Skinner has been voted out by the Tories in one of the largest shocks of the general election. Photo: PA

PA Archive/PA Images

Dennis Skinner has been voted out of his Bolsover seat by the Tory MP Mark Fletcher after nearly half a century as the MP.

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His humorous heckles at the State Opening of Parliament became one of the endearing features of Commons life, but now, after 49 years as an MP, the laughter has stopped.

The 87-year-old former miner, known as the Beast Of Bolsover after his Derbyshire constituency, was slayed by constituents who previously voted overwhelmingly for Brexit.

He was defeated comfortably by Mark Fletcher, with the Tories taking 21,791 votes (47.4% of the vote) to Labour's 16,492 (35.9%).

Skinner was not present at the count, having recently undergone hip surgery.

But paying tribute to the veteran, Fletcher told Emma Barnett on BBC Radio 4: "Dennis Skinner has served this seat with tremendous distinction. He has been a wonderful constituency MP and he has inspired millions of MPs.

"I'm very sad he can't be here, because I haven't found a street that I've walked up and down in this constituency where Dennis hasn't helped somebody.

"Dennis, if you're watching, I want you to know the love and affection of the people of Bolsover is very much still with you."

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Skinner was a beloved figure among sections of the party, with colleagues leaping to his defence when he was voted off its national executive committee by fellow MPs in 2014.

The Labour firebrand was known for his outbursts, often resulting in his being temporarily booted out of the Commons.

He was ejected in 2005 after making a drugs jibe at then-shadow chancellor George Osborne, complaining about the state of the economy under Tory governments of the 1980s by saying: "The only thing that was growing then were the lines of coke in front of boy George and the rest of the Tories."

Mr Osborne labelled the slur "pretty desperate and personal stuff".

In 2016, he was again given his marching orders when he refused to withdraw his "dodgy Dave" comment, in the House of Commons, directed at then-prime minister David Cameron.

Skinner said: "This man has done more to divide this nation than anybody else. He's looked after his own pocket. I still refer to him as dodgy Dave. Do what you like."

He was famous for his traditional heckle in the Commons at the State Opening.

In 2016, he received cheers from some Opposition MPs as he shouted "hands off the BBC" in the Commons, as MPs were summoned to hear the Queen's Speech.

A decade earlier, as the film The Queen was released, Skinner joked: "Have you got Helen Mirren on standby?"

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