Labour MP Dennis Skinner has been suspended from Parliament for the day for calling the Prime Minister "Dodgy Dave".

I would like to know how serious of an insult it is. Can you put this insult to scale with some other insults?

In 2012 Cameron called his opponent "muttering idiot" and wasn't suspended from parliament for a day, so I thought that "dodgy" is worse than "idiot". Is my hypothesis right?

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    "Dodgy" no doubt has many connotations, but in the US is mainly means simply "questionable" or "unreliable". – Hot Licks Apr 25 '16 at 18:49
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    It means sneaky and dishonest. In the political arena, it's fairly mild. But some legislative bodies (like Parliament) pride themselves on upholding certain rules of decorum, and one of those is a ban on outright disparagement of one's opponents. Hence the time out. – deadrat Apr 25 '16 at 18:52
  • Thanks. In 2012 Cameron called his opponent "muttering idiot" and wasnt suspended for day from parliament, so I thought that "dodgy" is worse than "idiot". Is it right? bbc.com/news/uk-politics-18177405 – poho Apr 25 '16 at 18:59
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    dodgy is usually for situations, remember the dodgy dossier? But when applied to people, It just means potentially untoward. Like a dodgy character, a person who does not appear to be on the up and up. Who gives the appearance of not doing things as they are supposed to be done, ethically, for instance. It is not a serious insult, rather mild in fact. – Lambie Apr 25 '16 at 19:06
  • Prime Minister of what? – haykam Apr 25 '16 at 19:59

In this context dodgy means dishonest or ethically questionable.

This is considered unparliamentary language. In particular, accusations of being dishonest or dishonourable are taboo, as in this BBC list.

MPs should not:

  • call another member a liar
  • suggest another MP has false motives
  • describe another member as "drunk"
  • misrepresent another MP's language
  • use abusive or insulting language.

Dodgy is not generally used to refer to a person; in the expression "dodgy Dave" was probably that "Dave" did dodgy things:

  • There should be no shame in incorporating expressive informal Britishisms into American usage. Dodgy (pronounced DAHJ-ee) is a particularly useful one in its range of possibilities.

  • It derived in the mid-nineteenth century, obviously, from dodge, the verb for slipping aside evasively, the noun for a trick or cheat. The “slipping aside” sense turned up early, dodgy understood as indicating “tricky” or “evasive.”

  • But its suspect quality quickly expanded into the senses of “risky or uncertain,” “dishonest or unreliable,” “potentially dangerous,” and finally, “of low quality.” You can enter into a dodgy business transaction with a dodgy partner, with dodgy consequences from vending dodgy wares.

    • Example: From a 2009 article in Rolling Stone, “50 Reasons to Watch TV,” about Glee: “It seemed like a dodgy idea at first—a dramedy about adolescent show-tune queens, from Nip/Tuck creator Ryan Murphy.”

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