Dennis Skinner, the scourge of Tory prime ministers from Ted Heath to David Cameron who was dubbed the "Beast of Bolsover", has been voted off Labour's governing national executive committee, prompting an outcry from across the party.
Hours after the veteran MP for Bolsover had taunted the prime minister as a member of the Bullingdon Club responsible for wrecking the NHS, the party announced he had been unseated.
Skinner, 82, who was first elected to parliament in 1970, was replaced in the NEC backbench MPs' section by the former minister John Healey. The other backbenchers elected to the NEC were the former deputy leader Margaret Beckett and the Liverpool Walton MP Steve Rotheram.
The Labour party denied reports that Skinner had been unseated after irritating Miliband's office. A spokesperson said: "There is absolutely no irritation from Ed or anyone in his office at Dennis. This was purely a matter for the parliamentary Labour party."
One party source said Skinner had been a victim of the leadership's determination to ensure that Healey, a loyalist, was elected to the NEC.
The removal of the veteran leftwinger prompted a strong reaction. John McDonnell, a fellow leftwinger, tweeted: "Dennis Skinner voted off Labour's NEC by Labour MPs. Sign of how distant from reality and from the views of our members some of them are."
John Mann, the MP for Bassetlaw, tweeted: "Naive political immaturity in parliamentary Labour party in knocking Dennis Skinner off NEC in election year."
Jim Murphy, the Blairite shadow international development secretary, tweeted: "Really sorry to hear that Dennis Skinner was voted off Labour's NEC today. A brilliant MP & good friend. Hopefully he'll make NEC comeback."
The treatment of Skinner contrasts with his experience while Tony Blair was leader of the Labour party. Blair courted Skinner and used to invite him to his office for chats.
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