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The Right Honourable
 John Prescott 

In office
8 June 2001 – 27 June 2007
Prime Minister Tony Blair
Preceded by Michael Heseltine
Succeeded by The Lord Mandelson

In office
2 May 1997 – 27 June 2007
Prime Minister Tony Blair
Preceded by Michael Heseltine
Succeeded by Vacant

In office
21 July 1994 – 24 June 2007
Leader Tony Blair
Preceded by Margaret Beckett
Succeeded by Harriet Harman

In office
2 May 1997 – 8 June 2001
Prime Minister Tony Blair
Preceded by John Gummer (Environment)
George Young (Transport)
Succeeded by Margaret Beckett (EFRA)
Stephen Byers (TLGR)

Member of Parliament
for Hull East
Assumed office 
18 June 1970
Preceded by Harry Pursey
Majority 11,747 (37.7%)

Born 31 May 1938 (1938-05-31) (age 71)
Prestatyn, Flintshire, Wales
Political party Labour
Spouse(s) Pauline Prescott
Alma mater Ruskin College
University of Hull

John Leslie Prescott (born 31 May 1938) is a Welsh politician, who has been the Labour Member of Parliament for Hull East since 1970;[1] from 1997 to 2007, he was the Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, also serving as First Secretary of State from 2001. He was elected Deputy Leader of the Labour Party after coming second in the 1994 leadership election, and was duly appointed Deputy Prime Minister after Labour's victory in the 1997 election, with an expanded brief as Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions.

A former ship's steward and trade union activist, by the 1980s he was presented as the political link to the working class in a Labour Party increasingly led by modernising, more middle class professionals. In his youth, Prescott managed to overcome the handicap of failing his grammar school entrance Eleven Plus examination, to graduate from Ruskin College in Oxford. Prescott also developed a reputation as a key conciliator in the often tense relationship between the two other senior figures in government, then-Chancellor Gordon Brown and then-Prime Minister Tony Blair.

On 27 June 2007, he resigned as Deputy Prime Minister, to coincide with the resignation of Tony Blair. Following an election within the Labour Party, he was replaced as Deputy Leader by Harriet Harman. However, the position of Deputy Prime Minister was not assigned to any minister. On 27 August 2007, he announced that he would stand down as a Member of Parliament at the next general election.[2]


Early life

The son of a railway signalman and Labour councillor, and grandson of a miner, Prescott was born in Prestatyn, Flintshire (now in Denbighshire), Wales. He left Wales in 1942 at the age of four and was brought up initially in Brinsworth in South Yorkshire, England. He attended Brinsworth Primary School (known then as Brinsworth Manor School), where he sat but failed the Eleven Plus examination in 1949. Shortly after, his family moved to Upton, Cheshire and he went to school in nearby Ellesmere Port, where he attended Grange Secondary Modern School.[3] He became a steward and waiter in the Merchant Navy, thus avoiding National Service, working for Cunard, and was a popular left-wing union activist. Prescott's time in the Merchant Marine included a cruise from England to New Zealand in 1957.[4][5] Among the passengers was Sir Anthony Eden, recuperating after his resignation over the Suez Crisis. Prescott reportedly described Eden as a "real gentleman". Apart from serving Eden, who stayed in his cabin much of the time, Prescott also won several boxing contests, at which Eden presented the prizes.[5] He married Pauline 'Tilly' Tilston at Upton Church in Chester on 11 November 1961.[6] He then went to the independent Ruskin College in Oxford, which specialises in courses for union officials, where he gained a diploma in economics and politics in 1965. In 1968, he obtained a BSc in economics and economic history at the University of Hull.

Member of Parliament

He returned to the National Union of Seamen as a full-time official before being elected to the House of Commons as Member of Parliament (MP) for Hull East in 1970, succeeding Commander Harry Pursey, the retiring Labour MP. The defeated Conservative challenger was Norman Lamont. Previously, he had attempted to become MP for Southport in 1966, but came in second place, approximately 11,200 votes behind the Conservative candidate. From 1974 to 1979, he concurrently served as a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) and Leader of the Labour Group, when its members were nominated by the national Parliaments.

Prescott held various posts in Labour's Shadow Cabinet, but his career was secured by an impassioned closing speech in the debate at the Labour Party Conference in 1993 on the introduction of "one member, one vote" for the selection and reselection of Labour Parliamentary candidates that helped swing the vote in favour of this reform. In 1994, following the death of John Smith, Prescott became deputy leader of the party in a leadership vote. He stood for the position of both leader and deputy leader, losing to Tony Blair in the former contest.

Deputy Prime Minister

John Prescott in May 2007

With the election of a Labour Government in 1997, Prescott was made Deputy Prime Minister and given a very large portfolio as the head of the newly created Department for Environment, Transport and the Regions. In July 2001, an Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) was created to administer the many areas under his responsibility.[7] This new office was originally part of the Cabinet Office, but became a department in its own right in May 2002, when it absorbed some of the responsibilities from the now-abolished Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions.

In the United Kingdom, the title of Deputy Prime Minister is used only occasionally, and confers no constitutional powers (in which it is similar to the pre-20th century usage of Prime Minister). The Deputy Prime Minister stands in when the Prime Minister is unavailable, most visibly at Prime Minister's Questions, and Prescott has attended various Heads of Government meetings on behalf of Tony Blair.[8]

Since the position of Deputy Prime Minister draws no salary, Prescott's remuneration was based on his position as Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions until 2001. This "super department" was broken up, with the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Department for Transport established as separate entities. Prescott was given the largely honorific title of First Secretary of State, whilst continuing to head smaller department of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, with responsibility for local and regional government, housing, communities and the fire service.


The UK played a major role in the successful negotiations on the Kyoto Protocol on climate change and Prescott led the UK delegation at the discussions.[9][10]

In May 2006, in recognition of his work in delivering the Kyoto Treaty, Tony Blair asked Prescott to work with the Foreign Secretary and the Environment Secretary on developing the Government's post-Kyoto agenda.[11]


Integrated transport policy

On coming to office, Prescott pursued an integrated public transport policy. On 6 June 1997, he said: "I will have failed if in five years time there are not...far fewer journeys by car. It's a tall order but I urge you to hold me to it."[12] However, by June 2002, car traffic was up by 7%. This prompted Friends of the Earth’s Tony Bosworth to say "By its own test, Government transport policy has failed".[13]

Prescott had success in focusing attention on the role of car usage in the bigger environmental picture and the need for effective public transport alternatives if car volume is to be reduced. The subsequent debate on road pricing evolved from his policy. A contrast was highlighted between Prescott's transport brief and an incident, in 1999, when an official chauffeur-driven car was used to transport Prescott and his wife 250 yards (230 m) from their hotel to the venue of the Labour Party Conference, where Prescott gave a speech on how to encourage the use of public transport. Prescott explained, "Because of the security reasons for one thing and second, my wife doesn't like to have her hair blown about. Have you got another silly question?"[14] Prescott was fined for speeding in July 1988, March 1989, January 1991 and January 1997. The last conviction related to an offence on 28 December 1996, when he was found to be driving at 80 mph on the M62 at a time when police recommended a 30 mile per hour limit due to ice; he was fined £40 and given three penalty points on his driving licence.[15][16]

Rail regulation

Prescott had a stormy relationship with the privatised railway industry. He had vigorously opposed the privatisation of the industry while the Labour Party was in opposition, and disliked the party's policy, established in 1996 just before the flotation of Railtrack on the London Stock Exchange, of committing to renationalise the industry only when resources allowed, which he saw as meaning that it would never be done. Reluctantly, he supported the alternative policy, produced by then shadow transport secretary Clare Short, that the industry should be subjected to closer regulation by the to-be-created Strategic Rail Authority (in the case of the passenger train operators) and the Rail Regulator (in the case of the monopoly and dominant elements in the industry, principally Railtrack). The policy was spelled out in some detail in the Labour Party's statement in the June 1996 prospectus for the sale of Railtrack shares, and was widely regarded as having depressed the price of the shares.

In 1998, Prescott was criticised by investors in the railway for his statement - at the Labour Party conference that year - that the privatised railway was a "national disgrace". The companies felt that they had had some considerable successes in cutting costs and generating new revenues in the short time since their transfer to private sector hands, and that the criticisms were premature and unfair.[citation needed]

In that speech, Prescott also announced that he would be taking a far tougher line with the companies, and to that end he would be having a "spring clean of the regulators". This meant that the incumbent Director of Passenger Rail Franchising - John O'Brien - and the Rail Regulator John Swift QC - both appointed by the previous Conservative government, would have to make way for new Labour appointees. In February 1999, the regulation of the passenger rail operators fell to Sir Alastair Morton,[17] who Prescott announced would be appointed as chairman of the Strategic Rail Authority, which would take over from the Director of Passenger Rail Franchising whose office would be wound up. In July 1999, the new Rail Regulator appointed by Prescott was Tom Winsor.[17] They shared Prescott's view that the railway industry needed a considerable shake-up in its institutional, operational, engineering and economic matrix to attract and retain private investment and enable the companies within it to become strong, competent and successful.

Local and regional government

Responsible for local government, Prescott introduced a new system guiding members' conduct after 2001. The new system included a nationally agreed Code of Conduct laid down by Statutory Instrument which all local authorities were required to adopt; the Code of Conduct gives guidance on when councillors have an interest in a matter under discussion and when that interest is prejudicial so that the councillor may not speak or vote on the matter. Although on many areas councillors had previously been expected to withdraw where they had declared an interest, the new system made the system more formal and introduced specific sanctions for breaches; it was criticised for preventing councillors from representing the views of their local communities.[18]

Prescott supported regional government in England. Early in his term, he introduced regional assemblies (consisting of delegates from local authorities and other regional stakeholders) to oversee the work of new Regional Development Agencies in the regions of England. Following Labour's second election victory, he pressed for the introduction of elected regional assemblies, which would have seen about between 25 – 35 members elected under a similar electoral system to that used for the London Assembly. However, due to opposition, the government was forced to hold regional referendums on the change. The first three were intended to be in the North-East, North-West and Yorkshire and Humberside. The North-East referendum in November 2004 was first (where support was felt to be strongest) but resulted in an overwhelming vote of 78% against. As a consequence, the plan for elected regional assemblies was shelved.


A rising number of households (especially in the south-east) was putting added pressure on housing during Prescott's tenure as the minister responsible. An increase in the housebuilding was proposed, primarily on brownfield sites, but also on some undeveloped greenfield areas and as a result he was accused of undermining the Green Belt. In January 1998 Prescott said in a radio interview that "The green belt is a Labour achievement; and we intend to build upon it"[19] - an accidental double entendre.

In the north of England, Prescott approved the demolition of some 200,000 homes that were judged to be in "failing areas" as part of his Pathfinder regeneration scheme. It has been argued that renovating properties, rather than demolishing them, would have made better financial and community sense.[20]

Opposition to education reforms

On 17 December 2005, Prescott made public his disapproval of Tony Blair's plans to give state schools the right to govern their finances and admission policies and to increase the number of city academies. It was the first policy stance that Prescott had made against Blair since his election as leader in 1994. Prescott said that the move would create a two-tier educational system that would discriminate against the working class.[21] He added that Labour were "always better fighting class".[22]

Links with the grass roots

Prescott, sometimes described as "an old-school unionist", kept in touch with the views of the traditional Labour voters throughout his career. He became an important figure in Tony Blair's "New Labour" movement, as the representative of 'old Labour' interests in the Shadow Cabinet and subsequently around the Cabinet table as Deputy Prime Minister.

However, now a member of the establishment, relationships with the grass roots were not always smooth. Whilst attending the BRIT Awards in 1998, Chumbawamba vocalist Danbert Nobacon poured a jug of iced water over Prescott, saying, "This is for the Liverpool Dockers".[23][24] (Dock workers in Liverpool had been involved in a two-year industrial dispute: a strike that had turned into a lockout, until a few weeks earlier.) A reporter from the Daily Mirror threw water over Nobacon the following day.[25]

Abolition of department

In a Cabinet reshuffle on 5 May 2006, Prescott's departmental responsibilities were transferred to Ruth Kelly, as Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, following revelations about his private life and a poor performance by Labour in that year's local elections. He remained as Deputy Prime Minister, with a seat in the Cabinet, and was given a role as a special envoy to the Far East.[26]

The press speculated in July 2006 that, as a consequence of the continuing problems centred on Prescott, Blair was preparing to replace him as Deputy Prime Minister with David Miliband, whilst possibly retaining Prescott as Deputy Leader of the Labour Party,[27] but nothing came of this.

Announcement of retirement

On 28 September 2006, at the Labour Party Conference in Manchester, John Prescott apologised in his speech for the bad press he had caused for the party during the previous year. He said: "I know in the last year I let myself down, I let you down. So Conference, I just want to say sorry." He confirmed that he would stand down as Deputy Leader when Tony Blair left Downing Street.[28] On 30 January 2007, he announced in the House of Commons that "I'm in a rather happy demob stage", in a combative performance.[29]

Within 30 minutes of Tony Blair announcing the date of his resignation on 10 May 2007, Prescott announced his resignation as Deputy Leader of the Labour Party. During the subsequent special Labour Party Conference, at which Gordon Brown was elected Leader and Harriet Harman succeeded Prescott as Deputy Leader, Prescott received a prolonged standing ovation from the members present, in recognition of his many years of service to the party.

Life after government

Following his resignation, it was announced that he would take over from Tony Lloyd as the lead UK Representative in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. The post is unpaid, but has an expenses allowance and allows him to sit on the Assembly of Western European Union. In a jocular response to the appointment, Shadow Europe Minister Mark Francois wished the translators good luck.[30]

On 27 August 2007, Prescott stated that he will stand down as an MP at the next general election, upon which he is expected to be offered a Peerage. He has not spoken in Parliament since July 2007, although he raised a point of order at a rare Friday sitting of the Commons in May 2009.[31] He has also engaged in the campaign against slave labour, which he intends to make a key issue in his work at the Council.[32]

Prescott is a director of Super League rugby league club Hull Kingston Rovers, who are based in his constituency of East Hull.[33]

His autobiography, Prezza, My Story: Pulling no Punches[34] ghostwritten by Hunter Davies,[35] was published on 29 May 2008.

In June 2008, he made a cameo appearance, playing a policeman, in the BBC Radio 4 adaptation of Robert Tressell's The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists.

In October and November 2008 he was the subject of a two-part documentary, "Prescott: the Class System and Me", on BBC Two, looking at the class system in Britain, and asking whether it still exists.[36]

Prescott is publicly very supportive of Prime Minister Gordon Brown, and has called him a "global giant"[37]

Health concerns

Prescott was diagnosed with diabetes in 1990[38], although this was not publicly disclosed until 2002.[39] On 2 June 2007 he was admitted to hospital after being taken ill on a train from his constituency in Hull to London King's Cross.[40] He was later diagnosed with pneumonia and was treated at University College Hospital, London. He was moved to a high-dependency ward on 5 June 2007 so he could be monitored more closely because of his age and the fact he suffers from diabetes.[41] On 6 June 2007 it was reported in the media that his condition was stable and that he was sitting up and "joking" with hospital staff.[42] He was subsequently released from hospital on 10 June 2007 to continue his recovery at home.[43]

In April 2008, Prescott announced he has the eating disorder bulimia nervosa, which he believed was brought on by stress since the 1980s.[44]

Criticism and controversies

Prescott has been involved in a number of controversies and incidents that have caused public concern and widespread media interest. During the 2001 election campaign, Prescott was campaigning in Rhyl when farmer Craig Evans threw an egg at him, which struck him in the neck. Prescott, a former amateur boxer, responded immediately with a punch, which struck the man directly in the jaw.[45][46][47] The incident, overshadowing the launch of the Labour Party manifesto on that day, was captured by numerous television crews. Tony Blair responded succinctly, stating, "John is John".[48] However, a National Opinion Polls (NOP) survey found that the incident appeared to do no public harm to Prescott, and may even have benefited his standing amongst male voters.[49]

In 2003, Prescott gave up a grace and favour home that he had rented from the RMT Union in Clapham, despite leaving the union in June 2002. Prescott paid £220 a month for the property — a fifth of its market value.[50] Though he had not declared the flat in the register of members' interests, he was subsequently exonerated by MPs who overruled Elizabeth Filkin, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards.[51] On 12 January 2006, Prescott apologised after it was revealed that the council tax for the government flat he occupied at Admiralty House was paid for using public money, rather than his private income. He repaid the amount, which came to £3,830.52 over nearly nine years.[52]

There have been additional controversies over sexual infidelities and harassment allegations.[53] On 26 April 2006, Prescott admitted to having had an affair with his diary secretary, Tracey Temple, between 2002 and 2004.[54] The Mail on Sunday broke the news with extracts from Temple's memoirs. These included a range of salacious allegations that were subject to extensive media comment.[55][56][57] This two-year affair is said to have commenced after an office party and, in part, took place during meetings at Mr Prescott's grace-and-favour flat in Whitehall. Conservative MP Andrew Robathan tabled questions in the House of Commons over John Prescott's reported entertainment of Ms Temple at Dorneywood, his official residence, which raised questions over the possible misuse of public finances.[58] Trevor Kavanagh, former political editor of The Sun, told BBC Radio 5 Live: "Learning that John Prescott's had an affair is a bit like learning that Simon Hughes is gay. I mean, everyone knows he had an affair. He's had a string of affairs throughout his life and this has come as no surprise."[59] On 7 May 2006, The Sunday Times quoted Linda McDougall, wife of Austin Mitchell, as saying that in 1978 Prescott had put his hand up her skirt as he came through the door to a meeting - Mr Prescott had not met McDougall before. On 30 July 2006, it was revealed that Tricia McDaid had filed suit for sexual harassment.[60]

He was criticised for maintaining the benefits of Deputy Prime Minister despite losing his department in 2006. He was also attacked for visiting the American billionaire Phil Anschutz, who was bidding for the government licence to build a super casino in the UK, and questioned over his involvement in the business of his son Johnathan Prescott.

He gained a reputation in the British press for confused speech, mangled syntax and poor grammar.[61] The Guardian columnist Simon Hoggart once commented: "Every time Prescott opens his mouth, it's like someone has flipped open his head and stuck in an egg whisk."[62] An oft-quoted but unverified story in Jeremy Paxman's The Political Animal is that, before being accepted as transcribers to the Parliamentary record the Hansard, applicants must listen to one of Prescott's speeches and write down what they think he was trying to say.

The media have attached various sobriquets to John Prescott during his political career. Originally, Prescott's nickname was simply "Prezza",[63] but as various misfortunes befell Prescott the soubriquets became more colourful leading to "Two Jags"[64] (Prescott owns one Jaguar, and had the use of another as his official ministerial car). Later versions of this term are "Two Jabs"[65] (following his retaliation against a protester farmer in 2001); "Two Shags"[66] (in reference to his affair with his diary secretary, Miss Tracey Temple); and "Two Shacks"[67] (referring to his former country house). The Independent later referred to Prescott as "No Jobs"[68] when he lost his department in a cabinet reshuffle following exposure of his affair, despite keeping the benefits and residences associated with his title, which became a sinecure.

On 8 May 2009, The Daily Telegraph began publishing leaked details of MPs' expenses. The Telegraph reported that Prescott have claimed £312 for fitting mock Tudor beams to his constituency home, and for two new toilet seats in as many years. Prescott has not responded to any of the claims.[69]


In 2009 Prescott participated in a BBC Wales programme Coming Home in which he researched his family tree. During the filming of the programme it was discovered that his great great great grandfather, Thomas Parrish, was the most likely father of his daughter's first four children. Athaliah Parrish, Prescott's great great grandmother, later married William Jones and had a further six children.[70] During the programme Prescott reaffirmed his feelings for his country, saying "I’ve always felt very proud of Wales and being Welsh. People are a bit surprised when I say I’m Welsh. I was born in Wales, went to school in Wales and my mother was Welsh. I’m Welsh. It’s my place of birth, my country."[1]


  • Punchlines: A Crash Course in English with John Prescott by Simon Hoggart (Pocket Books, 2003) ISBN 0-7434-8397-9
  • Fighting Talk: Biography of John Prescott by Colin Brown (Simon & Schuster, 1997) ISBN 0-684-81798-5
  • Prezza: My Story: Pulling No Punches by John Prescott (Headline, 2008) ISBN 978-0-755-31775-2

See also


  1. ^ a b "WalesOnline - News - Wales News - John Prescott learns of incest among his Welsh ancestors". WalesOnline website. Media Wales Ltd. 2009-11-30. Retrieved 2009-12-01. 
  2. ^ "John Prescott to stand down as MP". BBC. 2007-08-27. Retrieved 2007-08-27. 
  3. ^ "My love letter was sent back, spelling corrected". London: Times Online. 2008-05-25. Retrieved 2008-05-25. 
  4. ^ "Prescott at Your Service". BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 2007-02-04. 
  5. ^ a b Grimley, Naomi (25 January 2007). "When Prescott served Eden". BBC News (British Broadcasting Corporation). Retrieved 2009-01-25. 
  6. ^ "Pauline Prescott: Wounded party". The Independent. 
  7. ^ "The office of Deputy Prime Minister" (PDF). House of Commons. Retrieved 2006-07-18. 
  8. ^ "Bilateral Meeting Of The Prime Minister Of The Republic Of Poland With The Deputy Prime Minister Of Great Britain". The Chancellery of the Prime Minister (Poland). Retrieved 2006-06-09. 
  9. ^ Paul Brown (1 June 2002). "Hopes for Kyoto rise after Japan and EU ratify treaty". Guardian Unlimited. Retrieved 2008-10-01. 
  10. ^ Stephen Habberley (1 June 2006). "Prescott's highs and lows". Guardian Unlimited. Retrieved 2008-10-01. 
  11. ^ "John Leslie Prescott". 10 Downing Street. Retrieved 2006-01-13. 
  12. ^ "ENVIRONMENT, TRANSPORT AND THE REGIONS, RELATING TO TRANSPORT The Secretary of State was asked". Hansard. 1998-10-20. 
  13. ^ Friends of the Earth - Transport policy fails the Prescott test
  14. ^ "Prescott walks it like he talks it", BBC, 30 September 1999
  15. ^ "80mph Prescott fined", Sunday Times, 5 January 1997, p. 2
  16. ^ Guy Patrick, "Cops nick speeding Prescott", News of the World, 5 January 1997, p. 9
  17. ^ a b Sir Alastair Morton left office, early, in October 2001. Tom Winsor continued until the end of his five-year term in July 2004.
  18. ^ Christopher Booker (26 February 2006). "Christopher Booker's notebook". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2008-10-01. 
  19. ^ "Planning". Hansard. 3 February 1999 : Column 996. 
  20. ^ Charles Clover (16 May 2005). "Has John Prescott got his sums right?". Daily Telegraph. 
  21. ^ Francis Elliot (17 December 2005). "Prescott hits out over 'great danger' from Blair's school reforms". The Independent. Retrieved 2008-10-01. 
  22. ^ Patrick Hennessy and Melissa Kite (19 December 2005). "Class war: Prescott attacks Blair's education reforms and Cameron's 'Eton Mafia'". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2008-10-01. 
  23. ^ "Soaked Prescott Rages At Pop Band". Evening Standard. 10 February 1998. 
  24. ^ "Brits to go live again". The Sun.,,4-2006150548,00.html. 
  25. ^ "Four claret gold! Burnley's soccer-mad pop anarchists who fly first-class". Lancashire Evening Telegraph. 3 June 1998. 
  26. ^ Isabel Oakeshott (7 May 2006). "Prescott the predator keeps his spoils". London: Sunday Times.,,2087-2168926.html. 
  27. ^ "No. 10 lines up Miliband for Prescott job". London: Sunday Times. 9 July 2006.,,2087-2261991,00.html. 
  28. ^ "Prescott tells Labour: I'm sorry". BBC News. 28 September 2006. 
  29. ^ "I'm 'demob happy', says Prescott". BBC News. 31 January 2007. 
  30. ^ "Prescott in Council of Europe job". BBC News. 4 July 2007. 
  31. ^
  32. ^ "Prescott to stand down at election and focus on Council of Europe role". The Independent. 23 August 2007. Retrieved 2008-10-01. 
  33. ^ "Prescott handed role at Hull KR". BBC. 2007-10-18. Retrieved 2007-10-18. 
  34. ^ Headline: ISBN 9780755317752.
  35. ^ The Bookseller: "Have they got books for you".
  36. ^ "Last Night's Television - Prescott: The Class System and Me, BBC2". 28 October 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-01. 
  37. ^
  38. ^
  39. ^
  40. ^ "Prescott admitted into hospital". BBC News Online. BBC. 5 June 2007. Retrieved 2008-10-07. 
  41. ^ "Prescott suffering from pneumonia". BBC News Online. BBC. 5 June 2007. Retrieved 2008-10-07. 
  42. ^ "Prescott's sixth day in hospital". BBC News Online. BBC. 7 June 2007. Retrieved 2008-10-07. 
  43. ^ Woodward, Will (11 June 2007). "Prescott released from hospital". The Guardian. Retrieved 2008-10-07. 
  44. ^ "Prescott tells of bulimia battle". BBC News. 20 April 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-20. 
  45. ^ "Egg Head". Retrieved 2006-04-30. 
  46. ^ "Prescott sees red". BBC News. 17 May 2001. 
  47. ^ "Prescott 'regrets' blow". BBC News. 17 May 2001. 
  48. ^ BBC News: In Pictures: John Prescott
  49. ^ "NOP poll and Sunday Times analysis". UKPOL. Retrieved 2006-04-30. 
  50. ^ "Heroes of the Empire fight to stay rent-free". London: The Times. 21 January 2004. Retrieved 28 November 2008. 
  51. ^ "Watchdog overruled. MPs back Prescott over flat rented from union". The Guardian. 18 May 2000. Retrieved 28 November 2008. 
  52. ^ "Prescott apologises over tax bill". BBC News. 12 January 2006. Retrieved 28 November 2008. 
  53. ^ Ben Fenton (2 May 2006). "Prescott, a bully from a more brutal age". Daily Telegraph.;jsessionid=5MIWK2BD1FOB5QFIQMGCFFWAVCBQUIV0?xml=/opinion/2006/05/02/do0202.xml&sSheet=/opinion/2006/05/02/ixopinion.html. 
  54. ^ "Prescott admits affair with aide". BBC. 28 April 2006. 
  55. ^ Simon Walters (30 April 2006). "We made love in John's office". Mail on Sunday. 
  56. ^ Dominic Turnbull (7 May 2006). "Prescott ogled secretary from day he began job". Mail on Sunday. 
  57. ^ "Two Shags has two inches". The Sun. April 2006.,,2-2006200584,00.html. 
  58. ^ "Standards question over Prescott". BBC. 27 April 2006. 
  59. ^ Benedict Brogan, Michael Seamark, Gordon Rayner (27 April 2006). "Ministers humiliated on black day for Blair". Daily Mail. 
  60. ^ "Ulster journo sues Prescott for sexual harassment". Belfast Telegraph (Belfast Telegraph). 30 July 2006. 
  61. ^ "FactCheck: Prezza pulls his punches?". Channel 4 News. 30 May 2008. Retrieved 28 November 2008. 
  62. ^ "John Prescott: An Upstanding Member of UK PLC". The Friday Project. 28 April 2006. 
  63. ^ "Prezza's big gamble on Dome billionaire". London: The Times. 9 July 2006.,,2087-2261946,00.html. 
  64. ^ "'Two Jags' Prescott in parking row". The BBC. 27 July 2001. 
  65. ^ "Prescott punches protester". BBC News. 16 May 2001. 
  66. ^ "Two Shags has two inches". The Sun. April 2006.,,2-2006200584,00.html. 
  67. ^ "'Two Shacks' Prescott". Guardian Unlimited. 1 June 2006. Retrieved 2008-10-01. 
  68. ^ "Another sacked minister holds on to his residence". Independent Online. 24 May 2006. Retrieved 2008-10-01. 
  69. ^ Beckford, Martin (2009-05-08). "Daily Telegraph: John Prescott". Retrieved 2009-05-13. 
  70. ^ "Prescott sheds tears for ancestor". BBC News (British Broadcasting Corporation). 29 November 2009. Retrieved 29 November 2009. 

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Harry Pursey
Member of Parliament for Hull East
Party political offices
Preceded by
Margaret Beckett
Deputy Leader of the Labour Party
Succeeded by
Harriet Harman
Political offices
Preceded by
John Gummer
as Secretary of State for the Environment
Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions
Succeeded by
Margaret Beckett
as Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Preceded by
George Young
as Secretary of State for Transport
Succeeded by
Stephen Byers
as Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions
Preceded by
Michael Heseltine
Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
First Secretary of State
Title next held by
The Lord Mandelson


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

The Right Honourable John Leslie Prescott (born 31 May 1938) is a British Labour Party politician who was Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and First Secretary of State from 1997 to 2007. He is notable for being a northern-accented Cabinet minister of working class origins, and is well known for the mangled syntax that he often employs while speaking.


  • I can tell you I'm pretty middle-class.
    • BBC Radio 4 Today programme interview, 12 April 1996
  • I will have failed in this if in five years there are not many more people using public transport and far fewer journeys by car. It is a tall order but I want you to hold me to it.
    • Paul Brown, "Prescott points buses to fast lane", The Guardian, 6 June 1997, p. 10.
  • The Green Belt is a Labour achievement - and we mean to build on it.
    • "Passing Comment", The Times, 31 January 1998
    • Remark on BBC Radio, 19 January 1998
  • Because of the security reasons for one thing and, second, my wife doesn't like to have her hair blown about. Have you got another silly question?
    • BBC News online
    • On ITN news when asked why he had taken a car 250 yards from his hotel to the Labour Party conference in Bournemouth, instead of walking, September 30, 1999.
  • We now have a satisfactory solution not only to coalition forces, but also to the Iraqi authorities themselves.
  • This was released I think in February and so it is a great deal of fuss being made, it hasn't in fact been given public release, it was released in February ...
  • It is a fact that homelessness has continued to rise. It doubled under the previous Administration, but that does not help us. The Government intend to reduce — and probably eliminate — the homeless by 2008. [Interruption.] I am sorry, but the House knows that I have problems with English. I did not go to public school, so there is a limit to what I am able to say. Opposition Members can be such twits. We believe that we can eliminate the problem of homelessness by providing more resources, which is precisely what we are doing.
    • Hansard, House of Commons, 6th Series, vol. 423, col. 1268.
    • Speech in the House of Commons, 13 July 2004.
  • When I see that man on the telly - 'Are you thinking what I'm thinking?' No! I'm definitely not! I find most of it quite offensive!
    • Oliver Burkeman, "Election 2005: Aggressive and voluble - but the real thing", The Guardian, 21 April 2005, p. 6.
    • Referring to the slogan used by Michael Howard during the 2005 General Election campaign.
  • Look I’ve got my old pledge card a bit battered and crumpled, we said we’d provide more turches churches teachers and we have.I can remember when people used to say the Japanese are better than us,the Germans are better than us,the French are better than us well it’s great to be able to say we’re better than them.I think Mr Kennedy well we all congratulate on his baby and the Tories are you remembering what I’m remembering boom and bust negative equity, remember Mr Howard,I mean are you thinking what I’m thinking I’m remembering,it’s all a bit wonky isn’t it?
    • Ben Macintyre, "Ducking and diving, ageing prize-fighter still fears the suckerpunch", The Times, 13 April 2005, p. 23.
    • A statement made in Witham, Essex during the 2005 general election.
  • I notice from the papers and on television today that the Tories have now brought in a new person to get people to vote Tory, and I could not help noticing that the person is named, as I saw on the website, "Mr. Tosser". I do not know which person on the Front Bench this man is modelled on, but let me tell the right hon. Gentleman that I always thought that his party was full of them, and that is why they have lost three elections.
    • House of Commons, 29 November 2006,

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John Leslie Prescott, Lord Prescott [1] (born 31 May 1938) is a British Labour politician. He served as Deputy Prime Minister when Tony Blair was Prime Minister. He started out as a shop worker and was often considered to be the "most working class member of the Labour cabinet".[needs proof] Whilst campaigning for the 2001 election, he punched a man who threw an egg at him.[2].


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