Skinner, Dennis

First name/s: Dennis (Edward)
Last name: Skinner
Known names / nicknames: ‘the Beast of Bolsover’
Date of birth: 11/02/1932
Year of birth: 1932

Life before Ruskin

Date and place of birth: 11 February 1932, ?Clay Cross? Derbyshire

Family: Father, Edward, a miner. Mother, Lucy (Dudley) took in washing. Married Mary Parker, 1960, three children – Dawn, 1962, Dennis, 1963, Mandy, 1966. (Separated from Mary in 1989)

Work: Miner. From leaving school Parkhouse Colliery, after its 1962 closure Glapwell Colliery

Politics/Trade union activity: TU politics since entering mines.  Joined Labour Party 1956.

Education: Derbyshire NUM course at Sheffield University: political theory, economics etc

Trade Union membership (at time of entry to Ruskin) NUM

Life at Ruskin

Dates at Ruskin: entered 1967

Source of funding:

Campaigns/political activity:

Subjects studied at Ruskin:



Life after Ruskin


Work: Miner until elected MP for Bolsover in 1970

Politics/trade union activity:

Family: Separated from wife Mary 1989.  Lived since 1993 with his researcher/parliamentary assistant, Lois Blasenheim

Place & date of death: n/a

Date of death:
Year of death: 0

Achievements / Publications

President of the Derbyshire NUM in 1966

MP for Bolsover since 1970, Labour Party National Executive Committee 1978-92, 1994-98 and datae unknown-1st July 2014. Vice-chairman of Labour Party 1987-88. Chair, Labour Party 1988-89

Material in archives or already published articles


Notes on Image/s By Duncan Harris [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons   Dennis Skinner MP


Gallery of images at Dennis Skinner at 80,, Sunday 12 February 2012

Comment of contributor/s and sources

Entry by Dr Stuart Thomson for ‘Dictionary of Labour Biography’, editor Greg Rosen, Politico’s, 2001

On the origin of the nickname, from Dennis Skinner at 80: still awkward after all these years, The Observer, Saturday 11 February 2012

Indeed the genesis of the Beast of Bolsover nickname sums up Skinner’s propensity for independent bloody-mindedness. The former prime minister Anthony Eden, author of the ill-fated invasion of Suez in 1956, had died and parliament was going to break early after a tribute debate, he explains. “They were making speeches about the wonder of Anthony Eden, so I got up and talked about miners and people seriously injured and dead in the pits and the £200 given to the widow,” Skinner growls. “There was booing and then all the Tories left and the papers had a go, some serious ones. That’s where it came from.”;

Dennis Skinner voted off Labour national executive committee, The Guardian, Wednesday 2 July 2014


Steve Dowding

created 10/11/2013 at 1:05 pm, updated 13/10/2014 at 5:56 pm

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