Our next post will be for new and infrequent commenters

Happy hump day and Happy Birthday to Denis Skinner MP, who is 83 years old today. Mr Skinner has been MP for Bolsover for 45 years and has reportedly attended every session of the House of Commons since then. His Wikipedia entry says:

He often tells of turning up for work at his colliery after he had been elected as an MP, refusing to see it as his new occupation. This is the reason Skinner gives for refusing to miss any sitting in the House of Commons, saying that “if you missed a shift at the pit, you would get the sack”. He also refuses to adopt the pairing system in which he can agree a mutual abstention with a Conservative MP, saying he won’t cover for them whilst they “go swanning off to Ascot or to their boardrooms”. In the 2004–2005 sitting of the House he claimed the least expenses for an MP who served the full year.[33] He has never been a member of an All-Party Parliamentary Group;[34] does not eat alongside parliamentary colleagues in the Commons dining room; does not take trips or holidays ‘paid for’ by others; never drinks in the Commons Bar; and stays in the House of Commons during the Queen’s Speech at the State Opening of Parliament, as he advocates outright abolition of the House of Lords.

Our next post, following in 30 minutes, will be specially for new and infrequent commenters. “Infrequent” is defined as having commented on LDV less than five times in the last month.

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist and member of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

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  • A Commons legend. Happy birthday!

  • Jayne Mansfield 11th Feb '15 - 5:02pm

    Happy Birthday to an admirable highly principled politician.

    May you continue to roar for many more years, Beastie Bolsover Boy.

  • I despair at some of the praise given to Dennis Skinner.

    Some of his views, especially on Europe, are quite frankly regressive.

    As for claims he is hard working it has to be said most backbench MPs find All Party Parliamentary Groups an effective way to promote causes they believe in – just look at the excellent work of Julian Huppert as chair of the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group.

    Dennis Skinner might sit on the green benches a lot, but he seems to not initiate adjournment debates (which are vital for backbench MPs raising constituency issues). In the last year he has also only asked two written questions. Claims about his incredible hard work need to be seen in perspective.

    The following information is from the website They Work For You.

    Has spoken in 53 debates in the last year — well above average amongst MPs.
    Has received answers to 2 written questions in the last year — below average amongst MPs.
    Replied within 2 or 3 weeks to a very high number of messages sent via WriteToThem.com during 2008, according to constituents.
    Has voted in 89.67% of votes in this Parliament with this affiliation — well above average amongst MPs. (From Public Whip)
    People have made 111 annotations on this MP’s speeches — well above average amongst MPs.
    This MP’s speeches, in Hansard, are readable by an average 16–17 year old, going by the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level score.
    338 people are tracking this MP — email me updates on Dennis Skinner’s activity
    Has used three-word alliterative phrases (e.g. “she sells seashells”) 2725 times in debates — well above average amongst MPs. (Why is this here?)

  • Eddie Sammon 11th Feb '15 - 10:51pm

    Paul Walter’s comment on the article for infrequent commenters made me laugh:

    “We have this post surrounded with razor wire and gattling gun implacements. Frequent commenters shall not pass! ;-)”

    Good article on care-home finance Paul, by the way.

  • On my trip to parliament I saw him sitting in the dining room with someone he had been showing round. Perhaps he wasn’t eating, I’m not sure enough to say for certain now.

  • Mark Blackburn 12th Feb '15 - 9:50am

    Here’s what I hope is a constructive suggestion LDV, which *might* improve the take up on this initiative… Lots of us “new & infrequent posters” probably look at the feed once a day due to pressure of work etc, by which time we’ve missed the post intended for us! How about giving 24 hours notice so we see it in the daily update?

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