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  1. If I am doing a speech at a Labour party meeting — I think I have done every constituency — I’ll look for a happy face, and talk to that face. In the Commons, with all the anger, I’ll fix on a blank panel above their heads.
  2. I refused to pair with a Tory MP, I refused all foreign junkets and I’ve never had a drink in a Westminster bar.
  3. We’re allowed to say wonderful things about the Royal Family in the House of Commons. What you’re not allowed to say is: anything that might be truthful, but that might upset them. So from time to time I’ve been pulled up because I’ve said things which I think are important.
  4. I worked in the pit for more than 20 years and never had a serious injury.
  5. I wouldn’t take Father of the House even if I was offered it.
  6. I always work on the principle that if my heart and my head are together on an issue, write it, say it.
  7. In the public sector, there are a million people in the health service. There ought to be a couple of dozen or more on the Labour side, who learned their trade in different parts of the health service, and the public sector, and local government. And bus drivers, and people on the Underground.
  8. You don’t enter politics when you come to parliament. I was getting politics for breakfast, dinner and tea when I was a little kid.
  9. I often think now I’m a lot older, what would have happened if I was born in the middle of the city, where there was a drama class.
  10. When Cameron said to me ‘you’re a dinosaur,’ several people in Parliament said to me ‘you’re trendin’, Dennis, you’re trendin’ — and I didn’t know what it meant. I know now what it is.
  11. There are only so many things you can do in life, and if you think I’m going to spend my waking hours thinking about some decency in some Tory or other, forget it.
  12. Cameron called me a dinosaur you know? Well I’m the only dinosaur who can ride a bike 12 miles a day.
  13. Isn’t it essential in any prelude to a war to be sure of your allies and be sure of your objectives?
  14. I remember at one time there were 44 mining MPs.
  15. I am naturally disciplined. It started early; you can’t be all free and easy in a family of 10.
  16. I’ve never done any cross-party stuff. I’ve no interest in sitting down discussing pensions or whatever with Tories.
  17. When posh boys are in trouble they sack their servants.
  18. My life hasn’t been all about politics.
  19. I’m up at the crack of dawn.
  20. I was shaped by a pit environment and the Second World War. My playground was on the pit tip at Clay Cross and I grew up with that mining background. My father was a miner and my granddad was a miner, and I would say three out of ten on the street where I was born were working in the pits.

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