Dennis Skinner

British politician (born 1932)

Dennis Edward Skinner (born 11 February 1932) is a British Labour Party politician. He was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Bolsover from the 1970 general election to 2019, when he lost his seat. He was a member of the National Executive Committee for many years from 1978 and served as the Chairman of the Labour Party from 1988 to 1989.

Dennis Skinner in 2011




  • I have noticed not only a change of emphasis but a distinct change of policy, and it may be that the Tories have been conducting some market research with the assistance of the advertising firm which they have engaged. It has a foreign-sounding name. It sounds a coloured name to me—Saatchi and Saatchi. Certainly it does not sound very English.


  • Skinner: …it should be placed on record that, according to my hon. Friends who worked tirelessly in the Committee to oppose the provisions of the Bill, including this clause, the Liberal spokesman was not there half the time.
  • David Alton: I do not know where the hon. Gentleman gets his facts from. If it is from one of his friends on the national executive committee of the Labour Party, I suspect that the information is probably as spurious and ridiculous as most of the other things said in that body. I can assure him that what he said is certainly not the case, and I hope that he will withdraw that comment immediately. [An exchange takes place between the pair and the speaker, who asks Skinner to keep on topic but not to withdraw the remark.]
  • Skinner: The hon. Member for Edge Hill seems a bit upset about my saying that he was not there half the time. Will he settle for my agreeing that he was there the other half? That is an advance.


  • Is there not something even more sinister in people talking in abstract terms about Britain becoming part of this political union? People may have the impression that we, the 12 countries and perhaps more, are all pals together. The truth is that the real powerhouse of the Common Market lies in Germany. It has just annexed East Germany. It is central to the activities of all the nation states that are falling apart in eastern Europe. Political union spells something much more sinister, and that is German domination. We fought for six years against it in the second world war. If hon. Members allow this political union, they will allow the Germans to win now when they lost in 1945.
  • When I called the Right Hon. Member for Plymouth, Devonport (Dr. Owen) a pompous sod, Mr. Speaker said to me, 'You had better withdraw that'. I said I would withdraw 'pompous', but said, Mr. Speaker 'That's not the word I'm looking for.' There was laughter in the House and everyone thought that I had hit the nail on the head. I thought that that was a real parliamentary triumph, but Mr. Speaker thought differently. He said, 'Off you go,' and I did not get a chance to reply.
    • Speech in the House of Commons (28 February 1992).
  • I have been kicked out of this place about seven times, but I did not have any chance to explain. No one said to me, "Dennis, will you explain why you said that the Right Hon. Member for Chingford (Mr. Tebbit) was lining his pockets when he picked up that non-executive directorship of British Telecom?" I would have loved to tell everyone all about that, but Mr. Speaker said, "On your bike - early bath," and off I had to go.
    • Speech in the House of Commons (28 February 1992).
  • I accused the noble Lord, Lord Pym, when he was a Member of this House, of being the Minister for Unemployment because there were nearly 2 million people on the scrap heap - that pile of human misery known as the dole queue. Again, I was not able to make a speech before Mr. Speaker sent me out.
    • Speech in the House of Commons (28 February 1992).
  • Those were all genuine statements that I had to make. The Hon. Member for Winchester (Mr. Browne) was kicked out for 20 days because he lined his pockets with about £50,000 and did not put it in the register as he is supposed to do, and now he is whingeing but I reckon he got away with blue murder!
    • Speech in the House of Commons (28 February 1992).
  • The Hon. Gentleman is making pretty heavy weather of the fact that he was kicked out of this gentleman's club for 20 days. I call it a gentlemen's club.
    • Speech in the House of Commons (28 February 1992).


  • 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 and the rest of them.
  • Any Tory moles at the Palace?


  • every now and then you see the arrogance of Cameron, and that comes through every so often. It is the Bullingdon Club. When they were sat down – him and Gideon [Osborne's birth name] – and he says: 'You know what we really want, Gideon? Every weekend, after we've roughed up one of those hotels, we need an army of volunteers to come in and clean it all up.' And Gideon says: 'Yeah, we could call it the Big Society'.
  • Does the Prime Minister [then David Cameron] recall that at the time after he became Prime Minister under the coalition and at the time when he was dividing the nation between strivers and scroungers, I asked him a very important question about the windfall he received when he wrote off the mortgage of the premises in Notting Hill... I didn't receive a proper answer then. Maybe dodgy Dave will answer it now.


  • Skinner: "Half the Tories opposite are crooks."
  • Speaker: "Please retract that unparliamentary language."
  • Skinner: "OK, half the Tories opposite are not crooks."
    • There is no evidence that Skinner said this[1]. But see quotation from 1 April 1981, above.
    • It is an old joke which has been around since at least 1927.
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