Colourful life of one 
of Labour’s big hitters

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he was a true political heavyweight who never pulled his punches.

But could yesterday’s result spell the end of an illustrious career for Lord Prescott?

The veteran politician fought 10 general elections in his 40-year career as Labour MP for Hull East but after yesterday’s result, he said didn’t think he would be standing for election again.

Born in Prestatyn, North Wales, in 1938, John Prescott first became involved in trade union politics when working as a ship steward.

He married wife Pauline in 1961 and was first elected for Labour in Hull East in 1970, beating a young Norman Lamont.

He was one of the leading figures of New Labour, elected deputy leader of the Labour Party in 1994 and, when the party won the 1997 election, he became a loyal Deputy Prime Minister to Tony Blair, who even turned up in Hull last week to campaign on his behalf.

His 2007 retirement coincided with Tony Blair’s own resignation as Prime Minister. Having joined Labour’s doomed general election campaign he was rewarded with a life peerage, even though he had always been a bitter opponent of the House of Lords.

During his long parliamentary career, from which he retired in 2010, Lord Prescott became well known for his plain speaking.

He also hit the headlines for a range of controversial incidents. During the 2001 election campaign, he famously punched farmer Craig Evans after he threw an egg at him in Rhyl.

Mr Blair said after the incident: “John is John.”

He also had a jug of iced water poured over him by a member of the band Chumbawamba when he was a guest at the Brit Awards in 1998.

His penchant for cars won him the Two Jags tag that never left him, and he faced more serious problems in 2006 after a newspaper revealed he had been having a two-year affair with his secretary, Tracey Temple, revelations he acknowledged had devastated his wife.

Yesterday, even the victor seemed sorry to see him go, however. “I’ve enjoyed his company and it’s with slight sadness that I’ve beaten him,” Matthew Grove said. “He’s given such long, dedicated service to this area.”