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Dennis Skinner Shouts "Hands Off The BBC" At The Opening Of Parliament

The veteran Labour MP has continued his tradition of making a political point at the formal ceremony.

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Dennis Skinner shouted "hands off the BBC" during the state opening of parliament on Wednesday, in protest against plans to cut the broadcaster's budget.

The veteran Labour MP for Bolsover usually makes a joke during the formal ceremony, in which the Queen visits Westminster to set out the government's agenda for the next parliamentary session.

But this year the politician went for a simpler message and shouted a defence of the national broadcaster, to cheers from MPs.

Skinner's jokes, delivered shortly after an official called Black Rod formally invites MPs to come to the House of Lords and listen to the Queen's Speech, have gradually become a key part of the bizarre and ancient ceremony's traditions. The politician has previously made jokes about the privatisation of the Royal Mail, George Osborne, and the Conservatives' economic plan.

Last month Skinner, 84, was kicked out of the House of Commons for calling the prime minister "dodgy". Although clips of his appearances in parliament often go viral, Skinner has previously told BuzzFeed News he doesn't use social media, doesn't use a mobile phone, and prefers to send letters in order to protect Royal Mail jobs.

Jim Waterson is a politics editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Jim Waterson at

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