Skinner expelled

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Betty Boothroyd, the first female Speaker of the House of Commons, chalked up another personal first yesterday when she ordered an MP out of the chamber. The one-day expulsion was anything but a first for Dennis Skinner.

The Labour MP for Bolsover called John Gummer, the Minister of Agriculture, 'this little squirt of a minister'. Despite repeated appeals from Miss Boothroyd, Mr Skinner refused to withdraw the description, insisting: 'That's how I picture him.'

The incident came after Mr Skinner called for a public inquiry into what he said was the high level of dioxins in agricultural land in his constituency.