Calls for statue for defeated MP known as Beast of Bolsover

The newly-elected Tory MP for Bolsover in Derbyshire, has called for a statue of Labour firebrand Dennis Skinner to be erected in the constituency he served for 49 years.

Mark Fletcher comfortably defeated the 87-year-old former miner, knownaffectionately as the "Beast of Bolsover" in December's general election. It was one of the biggest political shocks of the election.

47.4%

Tories took 21,791 votes (47.4% of the vote) to Labour's 16,492 (35.9%) in the rural Derbyshire seat

The new MP for Bolsover is only the third ever to represent the area, an indication of how long his predecessor held the seat.

In Mr Fletcher's maiden speech in the Commons, he paid tribute to his predecessor, who, until his defeat, was the longest-serving MP.

Mr Fletcher urged the Opposition and the Government to join his campaign for a statue of the veteran, who he called "a giant of British politics".

"He fought tirelessly for his constituents locally, and it was incredibly heartening to hear on street after street and doorstep after doorstep in the campaign of the work that he had done to help people.

Mark Fletcher MP in his maiden Commons speech

And the former Labour leadership hopeful Clive Lewis gave his thoughts on what Mr Skinner would have made of the proposal.

"In terms of a statue, I can't speak for Dennis, although I can think of one word, or maybe two words, that he might say. But perhaps it would be something like 'give over'."

Clive Lewis MP

Read more:

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