Skinner makes 'Tory moles' comment before speech

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Indy Politics

Labour leftwinger Dennis Skinner sparked laughter in the Commons today with a barbed reference to the arrest of Tory immigration spokesman Damien Green.

As MPs assembled for the Queen's Speech, Mr Skinner (Bolsover) called out: "Any Tory moles at the Palace!"

His comment came as Black Rod Sir Michael Willcocks arrived to summon MPs to the upper chamber to hear the Government's legislative programme.

It came ahead of Speaker Michael Martin's statement to MPs later today explaining his role in the police search of Mr Green's office.

There had been speculation that angry Tory MPs might disrupt parliamentary proceedings but in the event MPs assembled without any trouble.

In keeping with parliamentary tradition, Sir Michael's way was initially barred at the entrance to the Commons and he was only allowed to enter after banging loudly on the door.

He walked into the packed chamber with Commons Serjeant at Arms Jill Pay and asked MPs to "attend Her Majesty immediately" in the Lords.

It was at this point that Mr Skinner spoke up and, as Sir Michael appeared to smile at the suggestion, laughter broke out around the benches.

Led by the Speaker, the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader David Cameron, MPs then filed out to listen to the Queen deliver her speech in the Lords.

As usual, Mr Skinner remained behind in the Commons, along with a few other Labour MPs, including Jeremy Corbyn (Islington N), and several Tories, including former party leader Iain Duncan Smith.