VETERAN Parliamentarian and Newport West MP Paul Flynn made a surprise appearance at the front bench at the House of Commons today.

In the midst of a flood of resignations from Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow cabinet, the long-serving Labour MP stood in as the party’s representative during business questions this morning.

Mr Flynn, who has held his role since 1987, began speaking by acknowledging his colleagues may be surprised to see him at the dispatch box.

“For the past 26 years I have been a backbencher by choice,” he said. “That wasn’t just my choice, it was the choice of the past five leaders of my party.”

He went on to speak non-stop for almost 10 minutes before speaker John Bercow asked him to wrap up, saying: “I always enjoy listening to him (Mr Flynn) because he speaks with great experience and great passion.

“But he has experienced his time. He must now bring his remarks to a conclusion, maybe with a few pithy questions, and we will have had our dose for today.”

Walsall North MP David Winnick, who at 83 years old is two years older than Mr Flynn, paid tribute to his Labour colleague, saying: “The contribution of my somewhat younger parliamentary colleague is an illustration of how the Dad’s Army here is always willing to give what assistance is needed when firm leadership is lacking on either side.”

Rumours that Mr Flynn had been appointed shadow leader of the house had been circulating on Twitter earlier in the morning after it was announced he would be taking business questions for Labour. A spokeswoman from his Westminster office confirmed this was “definitely not” the case.

“He’s just taking business questions today because of the lack of people available,” she said.