'Tell her to pay tax!': Some of Dennis Skinner's best quips during Queen's speech

14 October 2019, 16:22

Dennis Skinner has made a number of entertaining quips over the years
Dennis Skinner has made a number of entertaining quips over the years. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

The State Opening of Parliament is a key date in any political aficionados diary and comes with a variety of weird and wonderful traditions.

The day is the only time when the three parts which make up Parliament - the Crown, the Commons and the Lords - all come together.

Some traditions date back hundreds of years, such as the cellars of the Palace of Westminster being searched with lanterns for gunpowder following Guy Fawke's plot in November 1605.

In one of the more bizarre traditions, an MP is always taken hostage inside Buckingham Palace to ensure the Queen is returned from Parliament safely, again dating back to a time when Parliament and the monarch were on less cordial terms.

But one of the more modern traditions that has popped up is veteran Labour MP Dennis making an annual comment as Black Rod requests MPs join Peers in the Lord's chamber.

Mr Skinner's annual heckle has become somewhat of a tradition
Mr Skinner's annual heckle has become somewhat of a tradition. Picture: PA

This year 87-year-old Mr Skinner - who has never entered the Lords to hear the Queen's speech - quipped: "I'll not be going."

As usual, his comment drew a number of laughs from MPs on both sides, before they followed Black Rod to hear the Queen lay out the government's plans for the new Parliamentary session.

We've collated some of his best heckles for your enjoyment.

1988

"Ey up, here comes Puss in Boots!" - to Black Rod, Sir John Gingell

1992

"Tell her to pay tax!" - in relation to calls at the time for the Queen to pay income tax

1995

"New Labour, New Black Rod!" - in reference to Labour's election campaign slogan "New Labour, new Britain."

2000

"Tell her to read the Guardian!" - in relation to a campaign being led by the Guardian newspaper to abolish the monarchy

The Queen is always sat in the Lords and misses out on all the fun
The Queen is always sat in the Lords and misses out on all the fun. Picture: PA

2001

"You're nowt but a midget!" - Mr Skinner said this to Black Road Sir Micheal Willocks

2005

"Has she brought Camilla with her?" - Prince Charles had recently married the Duchess of Cornwall

2006

"Have you got Helen Mirren on standby?" - Helen Mirren was starring in a film about the Queen's life

2007

"Who shot the harriers?" - in reference to a recent incident at Sandringham, were two protected hen harriers had been shot. Prince Harry and one of his friends were questioned by police about what happened.

2012

"Jubilee Year, double-dip recession, what a start!" - in one of his more controversial heckles, Mr Skinner referred to the Queen's jubilee year and the UK dealing with yet another recession

2017

"Yeah, get your skates on, first race is half past two!" - a joke in reference to the Queen heading off to Royal Ascot later that day

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