Prescott under pressure

John Prescott
John Prescott

Deputy prime minister John Prescott faced renewed attacks from fellow MPs and the press this weekend after The Daily Mail published a picture of him playing croquet on Thursday afternoon.

Mr Prescott, who had been working on an "away day" at his grace-and-favour home at Dorneywood, was taking phone calls and working hard but had time to sneak a few minutes to play the croquet game, his staff claimed.

But the revelations are unlikely to be so easily brushed away by Labour backbenchers and MPs. Today's newspapers suggest they are considering a bid to remove him from power completely.

While The Independent on Sunday claims that Harriet Harman, Tessa Jowell and Alan Duncan are all interested in taking over the job, The Sunday Times claims that many MPs are openly disgruntled about his present position.

Mr Prescott lost his ministerial duties as head of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) after it was revealed that he had a two-year affair with a senior civil servant.

While the ODPM is now headed by Ruth Kelly in its new incarnation as the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), Mr Prescott's duties have been downsized to chairing a few cabinet committees - despite retaining Dorneywood, his title and his present salary.


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