Page last updated at 16:58 GMT, Tuesday, 2 December 2003
Below the gangway

The aisle which runs through the middle of the benches in the Commons chamber is known as the gangway.

The seats next to the gangway, or "below the gangway", on the opposition side are generally occupied by members from the smaller political parties.

The first seat on the front row below the gangway is usually occupied by former prime ministers.

During his years of political exile and after he ceased to be prime minister, Sir Winston Churchill occupied that position.

Another former Conservative Prime Minister, Sir Edward Heath also sat in the first seat below the gangway until he stood down from Parliament at the 2001 general election.

On the Labour side of the House, the front row of seats below the gangway has come to be known as "The Awkward Bench" as it has become associated with rebel Labour MPs.

In recent times it has been home to Andrew Mackinlay, Michael Clapham, John McDonnell, and Dennis Skinner, the so-called "beast of Bolsover".



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