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Friday, September 3, 1999 Published at 20:03 GMT 21:03 UK

UK: Politics

Skinner back on Labour's ruling body

Dennis Skinner: Back after losing his NEC seat last year

Veteran left-winger Dennis Skinner has regained his seat on Labour's ruling executive, the party has announced.

Prime Minister Tony Blair was said to be "pleased" to see the 67-year-old Bolsover MP back on the National Executive Committee (NEC).

A party spokesman said Mr Blair had "a good working relationship" with Mr Skinner, despite their differences.

[ image: Clive Soley: Top of poll]
Clive Soley: Top of poll
The man dubbed the Beast of Bolsover returns to the NEC following his shock defeat last year.

The former miner sat on the committee between 1978 and 1992 and again between 1994 and 1998.

Big loser

In this year's vote he came third in a poll for three seats in the parliamentary section.

Clive Soley, chairman of the Labour Parliamentary Party, topped the poll of MPs and MEPs, followed by Mo Mowlam's parliamentary private secretary Helen Jackson.

Mr Skinner narrowly beat Aberdeen South MP Anne Begg into fourth place.

[ image: Pauline Green: Loses place]
Pauline Green: Loses place
The big loser in the vote, announced three weeks before Labour's annual conference in Bournemouth, was Pauline Green, former leader of the Socialist group in the European Parliament.

Her vote slumped from 247 last year to 154 as she came last in the poll.

A Labour Party spokesman said: "The prime minister was sorry when Dennis went off the NEC so he is very pleased to see him back on again."

Mr Skinner has represented the parliamentary seat of Bolsover in Derbyshire since 1970.

'Victory for old Labour'

Tories were quick to try to capitalise on Mr Skinner's return to the NEC and Ms Green's failure to be re-elected.

A Conservative spokesman said: "We don't know whether to laugh or cry.

"Pauline Green has carried the can for Labour's appalling performance in the Euro elections.

"Dennis Skinner's re-election merely shows how strong old Labour still is."

Labour MPs Ian Davidson (Glasgow Pollok) and Norman Godman (Greenock and Inverclyde) and MEP Alex Smith (Scotland S) did not stand after polling poorly last time.

Results (last year's results in brackets)

Clive Soley: 238 (259) Helen Jackson: 202 (186) Dennis Skinner: 190 (182) Anne Begg: 182 (207) Pauline Green: 154 (247) Ian Davidson: Did not stand (93) Alex Smith: Did not stand (43) Norman Godman: Did not stand (34)

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