PRIME Minister David Cameron has been accused of ‘ageism’ over a barbed comment aimed at veteran Bolsover MP Dennis Skinner.
Mr Cameron advised the 80-year-old left winger to retire during heated exchanges in the Commons over alleged breaches of the ministerial code by Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt.
The PM made his remark when Mr Skinner, who has represented Bolsover since 1970, asked Mr Cameron: “Why is the Secretary of State for Culture getting better employment rights than the rest of the workers in Britain?
“Is it possibly because you know that while ever the Culture Secretary is in the firing line, that it prevents the bullets from hitting you, the Prime Minister?”
Mr Cameron responded: “Well you have the right at any time to take your pension and I advise you to do so.”
It is not the first time Mr Cameron has faced accusations of ageism to Mr Skinner.
In January Mr Cameron told him: “I often say to my children ‘no need to go to the Natural History Museum to see a dinosaur, come to the House of Commons at about 12.30pm’.”
Labour MP Toby Perkins claimed Mr Cameron’s comments were a ‘disgusting spectacle’ and Deputy Speaker Lindsay Hoyle said the long-serving Labour member of parliament should be ‘treated with respect’.
Raising a point of order, Mr Perkins, the Chesterfield MP, said the Prime Minister had refused ‘not for the first time’ to answer a question from Mr Skinner ‘on account of the Honourable Member’s age’.
He said: “This sort of discrimination would not be accepted against black members or female members, so I have no idea why this House tolerates, on numerous occasions, members coming to that despatch box and refusing to answer his questions.”