MP labelled ‘dinosaur’ in Prime Minister’s jibe

Bolsover election count 2010 - Dennis Skinner
Bolsover election count 2010 - Dennis Skinner
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PRIME Minister David Cameron has sparked an ageism row after referring to a veteran north Derbyshire MP as ‘a dinosaur’.

Labour MP Dennis Skinner, a former miner who has been Bolsover MP since 1970 and turns 80 next month, asked the final question during Mr Cameron’s weekly 30-minute Commons grilling at Prime Minister’s Questions.

He asked the Prime Minister when he would appear before Lord Justice Leveson’s inquiry into press standards, to which Mr Cameron said he would be ‘delighted’ to appear when required, before labelling the elderly politician a ‘dinosaur’.

He said: “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’.”

His comments later sparked a point of order from Labour MP Paul Flynn, who represents Newport West, who asked if it was appropriate for MPs to be criticised on the basis of their age.

Mr Flynn said: “One of the areas of Parliamentary life that has improved in recent years is it is now completely unacceptable for one Member to criticise another Member on the basis of gender, on the basis of race, ethnicity or disability.”

Labour MP Brian Donohoe, who represents Central Ayrshire, called for the Prime Minister to apologise to Mr Skinner.

Speaker John Bercow said: “I’m always in favour of humour but just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, humour is a matter of subjective judgment.

“Sometimes people are funny. Sometimes they think they are funny. Sometimes they think they are funny deliberately when they are not. Sometimes they don’t realise they are funny when they are.

“There are all sorts of different permutations. I think it would be unwise for me to offer a view as to the category of which the matter of current discussion happens to fall.”