Dennis Skinner’s infamous ‘dodgy Dave’ comment resurfaces amid David Cameron return

Dennis Skinner’s infamous ‘dodgy Dave’ comment resurfaces amid David Cameron return
Dennis Skinner asked to leave the chamber
BBC News/ParliamentLive.TV

He’s not making a comeback of his own, but comments made by the former Labour MP for Bolsover – Dennis Skinner – live on, resurfacing this week as David Cameron returned to frontline politics to serve as Rishi Sunak’s new foreign secretary.

Cameron, who re-entered government in a reshuffle triggered by the sacking of Suella Braverman as home secretary, was given a life peerage in order to accept the position, meaning he’s an unelected minister in a government helmed by an unelected prime minister.

Lovely bit of democracy, there.

This brings us to Skinner or 'The Beast of Bolsover', as his comments did the rounds again by those disgruntled by Cameron’s comeback.

Before he lost his seat to Conservative candidate Mark Fletcher in 2019, the former coal miner attracted fame for heckling Black Rod during the Queen’s Speech, and spouting unparliamentary language in the Commons – one such instance concerning then Prime Minister David Cameron.

In April 2016, Skinner asked the PM: “Does the prime minister recall that at the time after he became prime minister under the coalition, and at the time he was dividing the nation between ‘strivers’ and ‘scroungers’, I asked him a very important question about the windfall he received when he wrote off the mortgage of the premises in Notting Hill?

“I said to him he didn’t write off the mortgage of the one the taxpayers were helping to pay for at Oxford. I didn’t receive a proper answer then, maybe dodgy Dave will answer it now.”

The chamber erupted into noise at the remarks, with John Bercow, then Speaker of the House of Commons, urging Skinner to withdraw the adjective.

“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…”

Skinner, being mischievous, replied: “Which word?”

With a smile, Bercow answered: “I think he knows the word beginning with D and ending with Y which he inappropriately used.”

Nodding, Skinner continued: “I know what you’re talking about. This man has done more to divide this nation than anybody else!

“He’s looked after his own pocket! I still refer to him as ‘dodgy Dave’.”

He was then ordered to leave the Commons for the rest of the day, but that didn’t stop him from using the term again in July that year – this time without admonishment from Bercow.

The first interaction has been shared on Twitter/X again this week:

Cameron’s return to the cabinet this week has reignited discussion over the Greensill scandal, sparked in 2021 following a report in The Times that the former PM sent several text messages to then chancellor Rishi Sunak’s private phone lobbying for the bank Greensill Capital, which has since collapsed.

At the time, Cameron insisted he didn’t break any rules, but accepted there were “lessons to be learnt”.

Now, in an interview following his appointment as foreign secretary, Cameron said the controversy is “all dealt with and in the past”.

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