Most people would do their upmost to get a sitting in the House of Commons but on occasion some MPs are only too glad to relinquish it. Dennis Skinner, the MP for Bolsover, was happy to do so on Monday as he accuses David Cameron of being ‘dodgy’ over his financial dealings.
DS: I didn’t receive a proper answer then maybe (.) dodgy Dave will answer it now Chamber: ((noise)) DS: and by the way
As the chamber erupted, the Speaker (SP) called the house to ‘order’.
SP: order or or or order DS: and by the way SP: or or (.) order or or or or order order order I orDE:::R Chamber: ((‘chuck him out’)) SP: order Chamber: ((‘chuck him out’)) SP: I must ask the honourable gentleman order Chamber: ((single comment)) SP: I don’t require any assistant from some junior minister absurd proposition Chamber: ((surprise and some laughter))
The Speaker then invited Dennis Skinner to withdraw the word ‘dodgy’ as it is considered unparliamentarily.
SP: I invite (.) order (.) I invite the honourable gentleman to withdraw that adjective that he used a moment ago he’s perfectly c- order he’s perfectly capable of asking his question without using that word (.) it is up to him but if he doesn’t wish to withdraw it I can’t (.) reasonably ask the prime minister to answer the question all he has to do is withdraw that word and think of another Chamber: ((comment and laughter)) SP: sorry? (.) sorry? Chamber: ((noise continues)) SP: I think he knows the word beginning with D and ending in Y that he inappropriately used Chamber: ((comments ‘davy’)) SP: withdraw
Skinner however was in no way ready to withdraw his epitaph for the Prime Minister ‘dodgy Dave’ which he has used before. He continued and used the phrase again.
DS: I know I know (what you say) SP: very simple (.) withdraw DS: this man has done more Chamber: ((noise rises)) DS: to divide this nation than anybody else he’s looked after his own pocket I still refer to him (.) as dodgy dave Chamber: ((some cheers much noise)) DS: do what you like (4.0)
The Speaker gave him a second chance to withdraw the word.
SP: or- order order order order I’m sorry (.) I must ask the honourable gentleman to withdraw the wor- (1.0) Chamber: ((noise continues))
Sensing however that Skinner was in no mood for withdrawing his epitaph he referred to Standing Order no. 43:
43. Disorderly Conduct
The Speaker, or the chairman, shall order any Member or Members whose conduct is grossly disorderly to withdraw immediately from the House during the remainder of that day’s sitting; and the Serjeant at Arms shall act on such orders as he may receive from the chair in pursuance of this order.
It is noticeable how the chamber quietened to listen to the order as they realised Skinner was to be ejected from the chamber.
SP: very well (2.0) very well Chamber: ((noise & comments ‘sshh’)) (6.0) SP: under the power given to me by standing order number forty three (2.0)((chamber quietens)) I order the honourable member to withdraw immediately from the house for the remainder of this day’s sitting
Rather than wait for the Serjeant (sic) at Arms throw him out, Skinner walked slowly out of the chamber without fuss. Presumably he felt he had made his point.
Chamber: ((DS walks out of chamber)) ((noise and comments ‘he’s used to this’)) (12.0) SP: very well needless to say no reply is required to that (.) question
As I have said before, it is often not what is said but the reaction to what is said in the chamber that gains the headlines in the media. This was Skinner at his masterly best – he knew he would be kicked out but knew that this would draw attention to his words and he now seems to have gained some fans in the USA for his language style.
Some words that are considered unparliamentarily:
Blackguard, Coward, Git, Guttersnipe, Hooligan, Hypocrite, Idiot, Ignoramus, Rat, Swine, Stoolpigeon, Tart, Traitor, Sod, Wart