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Veteran Labour MP Dennis Skinner Has Lost His Seat To The Conservatives

He has represented the Derbyshire constituency of Bolsover for almost 50 years.

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Dennis Skinner has lost his seat after representing the Bolsover constituency in Derbyshire for almost 50 years.

Bolsover has been a Labour seat since its inception in 1950 and has only ever had two MPs — Harold Neal and Dennis Skinner. The Tories turned his 5,288 majority into a 5,299 majority of their own, in a stunning result that was emblematic of a terrible night for Labour in its heartlands.

The 87-year-old, who first joined Parliament in 1970, became the longest continuously serving Labour MP in December 2017, but said in 2015 that he would not accept the honorific Father of the House title, which he would have inherited from Ken Clarke at this election.

Skinner was known in the Commons for his acerbic wit and passion, which earned him the nickname the Beast of Bolsover. He has been suspended from the Commons at least 10 times, normally for using "unparliamentary language."

However, Boris Johnson's promise to "get Brexit done" has no doubt boosted his party's support in this former Labour stronghold. Conservative Mark Fletcher won the seat for the first time for the party, with a majority of more than 5,000 votes.

Bolsover was one of several of Labour's former heartlands that turned blue for the first time as the party struggles to retain its traditional supporter base due to a combination of factors, including Brexit and the sense among some voters that it has abandoned the working class.

The son of a coal miner, Skinner was a strong supporter of striking miners — he refused to accept a parliamentary salary higher than a miner's wage, and during the strike, he donated his wages to the NUM.

He is a member of the left-wing Socialist Campaign Group of Labour MPs, and voted against the Iraq War and renewing Trident. He backed Jeremy Corbyn's leadership bid in 2015. However, he had a good relationship with former leader Tony Blair and supported David Miliband in the 2010 leadership contest.

Bolsover voted strongly in favour of exiting the EU, with 70.8% of residents backing Leave. Skinner himself is a Eurosceptic and voted in favour of leaving the EU.


Hannah Al-Othman is a political correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Hannah Al-Othman at hannah.al-othman@buzzfeed.com.

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