Article 50 Bill UK Parliament
The title of father of the House is given to the MP with the longest unbroken service parliamentlive.tv

Following the death of veteran Labour MP Sir Gerald Kaufman aged 86, the title of Father of the House was handed to Kenneth Clarke, the Tory grandee who has served continuously in the House of Commons since 1970.

The title Father of the House is given to the MP with the longest unbroken service in the House of Commons and has previously been awarded to MPs such as Winston Churchill and Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, was held the position of prime minister and and Father simultaneously in 1907-8.

Despite both being elected in the 1970 general election, Kaufman took the oath before Clarke and thus declared the longer serving MP. However, the title will soon change hands yet again as Clarke announced he will be stepping down at the 2020 election after 50 years as an MP.

Clarke, who has failed three times to win a Tory leadership challenge, was elected MP for Rushcliffe in 1970 won every election since then.

The MP with the next longest unbroken service is Labour's Dennis Skinner, who was also elected in 1970 and has kept his seat ever since.

However, the chances of the Beast of Bolsover ever accepting the title look very unlikely given his tendency for outbursts and being ejected from Parliament down the years. Speaking to the Guardian in 2015, he said: "I wouldn't take Father of the House even if I was offered it. The idea that the Speaker is going to say to me [affects plummy voice]: 'And now I call the Father of the House' – you must be joking. I made it clear long ago that I wouldn't do it."

Dennis Skinner
85-year-old Dennis Skinner has been an MP for nearly 50 years Getty

Who are the longest-serving MPs in House of Commons?

There are also several MPs, including Labour's Kevin Barron and Margaret Beckett and Conservative Sir David Amess, who have had held an unbroken service in the House of Commons since the 1983 election.