Dennis Skinner was kicked out of Parliament on Monday for calling the Prime Minister "dodgy Dave", which, as insults go, is just slightly less wounding than Roger the Dodger calling someone "farty pants". But he refused to retract the comment and was barred by the speaker from attending the rest of the day's sessions. Skinner dutifully strolled out of Parliament like a year nine so used to being sent to stand outside class he can't be bothered to put up a fight any more.
And "Dodgy Dave" was just the latest in a string of parliamentary outbursts for Skinner, who is imbued with the searing rage of every man, woman and child wronged by the Tories over the last fifty years. He has regularly been suspended from the house, normally for schoolboy name-calling. Here are some of his finest moments.
This is sort of the classic Skinner outburst - Skinner vanilla, if you will. He takes an issue that a lot of Labour members cared about in the 80s, in this case miners' pensions, and amps up and amps up until he reaches "the point of no return" and climaxes with a string of slightly disjointed Tory-bashing: "dodgy Dave", "went to Eton" etc. Then the Prime Minister makes a joke about Skinner being a dinosaur (he does this pretty much every time - presumably someone's told him that's the easiest way to deal with criticism from the Skinner, but it doesn't always land) and everyone moves on.
HE'S A SQUIRT AND A WART
Commons insults aren't what they used to be. Here is Skinner back in 1993, a golden era of name-calling, calling Tory MP John Gummer a "squirt" and a "wart". The suspension is almost eerily like this week's, although Betty Boothroyd could "ORDER" the balls off of John Bercow on any street in Westminister.
CALLING GEORGE OSBORNE A COKEHEAD
Another almost-suspension for Skinner, this time after he made jibes that suggested the chancellor was doing so much nosebag in the 1970s and 80s that he didn't even know how big the growth rate was. He went for "Boy George Osborne" but I feel "Changcelor of the Exchequer" would have been better.
Skinner was first elected an MP in 1970. He's been at this a long time. Here he is sparring with Thatcher. I'm sure by today's standards, the £5m Thatcher spent on running Downing Street is quite small but Skinner still refers to the newly-gated Downing Street as "the fortress of Madame Ceaușescu".
LOW-KEY CLEGG PAR
This is great example of Dennis Skinner's more subtle barbs. This clip doesn't show the run-up, but the house is discussing The Sun's story that the Queen had told Nick Clegg she was in favour of Brexit. Skinner does a classic 'Mean Girl' turn, asking in a whispered voice why on earth she'd been confiding in him any way.
TO HELL WITH EVERYTHING
This wasn't in Parliament, but it is Skinner at his best, slagging off his own party, the Liberals and the interviewer, starting with some reasonable points about the way the election campaign changed to stop Labour winning before calling every one of his opponents in the Lib Dems names, such as "Paddy Backdown, Dr. Death, Shirley Poppins, Woy Of The Wadicals". That really is the key to a Dennis Skinner rant: start with socialism, end with The Beano.
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