Birthday: February 11, 1932
Age: 89 Years, 89 Year Old Males
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Also Known As: Dennis Edward Skinner
Born Country: England
Born in: Clay Cross, United Kingdom
Famous as: Political Leader
Spouse/Ex-: Mary Parker (m. 1960–1989)
father: Edward Skinner
mother: Lucy Skinner
siblings: David Skinner, Gary Skinner, Graham Skinner
children: Dawn Skinner, Dennis Skinner, Mandy Skinner
education: Ruskin College, Tupton Hall School, The University of Sheffield
Who is Dennis Skinner?
Dennis Skinner is a British Labour Party politician who has been the serving MP of Bolsover since 1970. He is the longest-serving Labour MP and also the oldest serving MP in UK Parliament. Often referred to as the ‘Beast of Bolsover’, he is famous for his unflinching and unapologetically scathing speeches. He is known to not always use “politically correct” language. These include instances of calling opposition leader David Owen a “pompous sod” and John Gummera “slimy wart on Margaret Thatcher’s nose”. He is a staunch Brexit supporter. Additionally, Dennis Skinner is not a supporter of British Monarchy. His witty and often sarcastic comments during the annual ‘Queen’s Speech’ ceremony have attracted both admiration and criticism. He has voted for adoption rights for same-sex couples, for same-sex marriage, against discrimination based on sexual orientation, and for pro-abortion rights. He is also revered by the scientific community for having talked out a British Parliament bill that would have banned stem cell research.
Childhood & Early Life
Dennis Edward Skinner was born in Clay Cross, Derbyshire, England, on February 11, 1932. His father, Edward Skinner, was a coal miner, who was let go after the 1926 UK general strike. His mother, Lucy Skinner was a cleaner.
He attended the Tupton Hall School after winning a scholarship. In 1967, he went to study at Ruskin College, Oxford. He had by then completed a course at the University of Sheffield, managed by the National Union of Mineworkers.
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In 1949, Dennis Skinner started working as a coal miner at Parkhouse colliery. After it closed in 1962, he started working at the Glapwell colliery. A will to change the life of miners created an avid interest in him for politics.
He became the youngest president of National Union of Mineworkers, Derbyshire region in 1964. He eventually became a member of the ‘Derbyshire County Council’ and a Clay Cross councilor (1960 – 1970).
Dennis Skinner joined the Labour Party in 1956. In 1970 general elections, he was elected as MP from Bolsover and has been a MP from that seat since then.
Throughout his political career, he has been a staunch advocate for equal rights. He voted for the equalization of the age of consent and to make it criminal to discriminate against people based on their sexual orientation.
Skinner is one of the few British politicians to have voted for adoption rights for LGBT couples and same-sex marriage. He is also pro-abortion and talked out a controversial anti-abortion bill to death in the parliament.
He has never been a supporter of British monarchy. In 1980, he and other Labour MPs blocked the entrance of the ‘Black Rod’ (the official representation of royal authority in the ‘House of Lords’).
One of Dennis Skinner’s proudest moments as a politician came on June 7, 1985. He talked a ridiculous bill to death at the British Parliament. The bill by Enoch Powell was aimed at banning life-saving stem cell research.
On March 18, 2003, he was among the few Labour MPs to vote against the ‘Iraq War’. On March 14, 2007, he voted against maintaining the UK’s ‘Trident nuclear deterrent ’. He has continued doing so and even voted against replacing the four Trident nuclear missile submarines on July 18, 2016.
He has not always agreed with his own Labour Party’s views. He notably voted against the detention of terror suspects for 90 days without trial. In March 2011, he voted against British participation in NATO’s Libya intervention.
On July 15, 2014, and June 7, 2016, Dennis Skinner voted against the mass interception and retention of digital data or mass surveillance.
After being removed from Labour Party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) in 2014, he was reinstated in 2015. He left the NEC in October 2016. The same year, he was suspended from the parliament for the tenth time for calling PM David Cameron “Dodgy Dave”.
On September 14, 2016, Dennis Skinner voted in favor of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union. He has continued voting in favor of ‘Brexit’ in 2019.
He earned the name ‘Beast of Bolsover’ for his fiery speech highlighting the hardships of miners during a tribute debate after the death of PM Anthony Eden. He has also been featured in the documentaries ‘Nature of the Beast’ (2017) and ‘The Big Meeting’ (2019), etc.
Family & Personal Life
Dennis Skinner was married to Mary Parker from 1960 to 1989. They have three children together, son Dennis Skinner (born 1963), daughters, Dawn Skinner (born 1962), and Mandy Skinner (born 1966). He is currently in a relationship with Lois Blasenheim.
In 1999, he had a tumor removed from his bladder after being diagnosed with cancer. He also regularly visits care homes to sing to elderly patients with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.