MPs behaving badly before the rude tube
It is silly of Dr Brigid Purcell to claim that since the Commons became televised there’s been a decline in civility (Letters, 5 December). We had Bernadette Devlin assaulting another MP in the chamber in the 1970s, we had Michael Heseltine swinging the mace and – as older members of the SNP, Liberals
(as they were then) and the SDP will testify – verbal and physical intimidation by Labour MPs was a routine hazard. Finally, there came Dennis Skinner – not called the Beast of Bolsover for nothing. David Owen, who had to put up with Skinner chanting “Dr Death, Dr Death” every time he got up to speak, noted that the MP was a much quieter little mouse after he came to prominence due to television recording his appalling behaviour.