LABOUR’S big-hitting peer Lord Prescott rounded off his campaign to be one of the country’s first police and crime commissioners by warning a drunken heckler he might “come and check on you” if elected.
The former Deputy Prime Minister was speaking at a rally in Queen Victoria Square in Hull yesterday, flanked by the city’s three Labour MPs, when he was confronted by a man in his 20s with a half-empty bottle of beer.
Witnesses claim the man tried to throw a punch at the 74-year-old politician, who remained calm but berated him for his behaviour as he was dragged away.
George McManus, a member of the Labour Party campaign team, said: “Prescott was in full flow talking about the priorities for the police commissioner and this guy came up and started shouting some abuse. He grabs the microphone and shouted something quite detrimental, I won’t say what.
“The MPs were getting a bit twitchy and I think Karl Turner [MP for Hull East] wanted to move him on but Prescott said ‘No, let him have his say’, so the guy lunged towards him and it must have been his girlfriend or sister literally dragged him away, and Prescott shouted, ‘And when I’m the Police and Crime Commissioner I’m going to stop that sort of behaviour because it’s unacceptable on the streets of Hull, and if I get your address I’m going to come and check on you after the election’.”
He added: “It was a perfect example of everything Prescott has been going on about with anti-social behaviour – it’s late morning in the middle of Hull with women and kids out shopping and this guy is staggering about shouting abuse. I think Prescott handled it quite well. He got a big round of applause.”
Lord Prescott is bidding to be the Humberside Police commissioner as voters go to the polls today in 41 police force areas across England and Wales.
Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said it would be the Government’s fault if the turn-out was low. “The Government’s handling of these elections has been a shambles by holding them in November rather than May and refusing to provide proper information so lots of people still don’t know what’s going on. Labour didn’t support these plans in Parliament but now the Government is going ahead we believe policing is too important to turn our backs so we’re working hard to encourage people to vote.”