Prescott, John



Now a Life Peer, Lord John Prescott is best known for his role as Deputy Prime Minister to Tony Blair from 1997-2007. An important working-class voice within the Blair government, Prescott spent 37 years in the House of Commons.

John Prescott

John Prescott has always been an enthusiastic political campaigner.

Political Career

After a period as a Trade Unionist and ship steward, John Prescott became the Labour MP for Hull East in 1970. An opposition spokesman throughout the Kinnock years, Prescott was elected as Labour Deputy Leader in 1994.

After the death of then Labour Leader John Smith in 1994, Prescott stood for the Labour leadership himself, but lost convincingly to Tony Blair. As Blair’s new Deputy, Prescott became an important link between ‘New Labour’ and Labour’s working-class and union base. From 1994-2007, Prescott was widely regarded as the man who kept Old Labour behind Blair.

After the Labour landslide of 1997, Prescott was appointed Deputy Prime Minister, and was also given responsibility for the newly created Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions.

For a brief period in 2001, Mr Prescott‘s career hung in balance after he punched a protester in the General Election of that year. While campaigning in Rhyl, North Wales, Prescott had eggs thrown at him before he responded with two punches. The scene soon became a source of humour and Prescott, previously known as ‘two Jags’ for his possession of two jaguar cars, was now christened ‘two jabs’ for his part in the incident.

2006 saw another moment of public controversy in which Prescott admitted to having had an affair with his then-Diary Secretary. In the Labour conference of that year, Prescott said to the attendees: ‘I know in the last year, I let myself down, I let you down. So conference, I just want to say sorry’. In the aftermath, he confirmed that he would stand down when Tony Blair left Downing Street.

What is John Prescott doing now?

Prescott was appointed to the House of Lords in 2010 as a Labour Peer, having retired from the Commons in the election of that year.

On receiving the appointment, Lord Prescott said: ‘I welcome the opportunity to continue to campaign in Parliament for jobs, social justice and the environment as well as to hold this Con-Lib government to account’.

In 2015, it was announced that Prescott would return to front-line politics as an unpaid adviser to Ed Miliband. Prescott was also open in his support for Jeremy Corbyn at the 2017 General elections. However, Lord Prescott was stopped from campaigning for Mr Corbyn at the 2019 election because of a stroke. This was the first election, Prescott hadn’t been involved in since 1960.


The son of a railway signalman, Prescott left school at 15 to begin work as a Trainee Chef. From 1955 to 1963 he worked as a Cunard ship’s steward in the Merchant Navy, leaving to attend Hull University to read Economics and Politics. He also studied at Ruskin College, Oxford.

As a waiter in 1957, Prescott served the former Prime Minister Anthony Eden only nine days after his resignation. ‘What were your first words to Sir Anthony when you met him?’, Prescott was later asked, ‘Good morning, sir’, Prescott replied in his typical fashion, ‘I was the waiter!’.

How old is Lord Prescott?

Lord John Leslie Prescott, was born on the 31st of May 1938. He is now in his eighties.


Prescott married in 1961; he and his wife have two sons. One of these sons, David, is active in the Labour Party and worked in the Jeremy Corbyn’s office during his time as party leader.

Social Media

Twitter – @johnprescott