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Trougher Of The Year – John Prescott?

Fat lump John Prescott or, as forelock-tugging oiks like us should call him, “Baron Prescott, of Kingston upon Hull in the County of East Yorkshire” might well be a worthy contender for our prestigious Trougher of the Year trophy.

What has he cost us?

First elected to the Commons in 1970 and leaving in 2010, fatman Prescott must have cost us in the region of £16m. Since 2010 he has continued troughing in the Lords and even tried to extend his troughing career by being elected Police and Crime Commissioner in 2012 at the age of 74. Fortunately for us, he lost to a Conservative.

What has he done for us?

Prescott’s main role as Deputy PM from 1997 till 2007 seems to have been trying to keep the peace between the warring camps of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown – the “TBGBs” as the perpetual conflicts were called.

The role of Deputy PM is unpaid and so Prescott was also made Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions giving him a nice juicy minister’s 6-figure salary.

Responsible for local government, he pressed for the introduction of elected regional assemblies, which would have seen about 25 to 35 members elected under a similar electoral system to that used for the London Assembly. However, because of opposition, the government was forced to hold regional referendums on the change. 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.

The UK played a major role in the negotiations on the disastrous and unnecessary Kyoto Protocol on the myth of climate change and Prescott led the UK delegation at the discussions.

In 2003, Prescott gave up a grace and favour home that he had rented from the RMT Union in Clapham; he had left the union in June 2002. Prescott paid £220 a month for the property – a fifth of its market value. Though he had not declared the flat in the register of members’ interests, he was subsequently exonerated by MPs who (surprise surprise) overruled Elizabeth Filkin, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards. 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.

In April 2006, Prescott admitted to having had an affair with his diary secretary, Tracey Temple, between 2002 and 2004. This two-year affair is said to have commenced after an office party and, in part, took place during meetings at Prescott’s grace-and-favour flat in Whitehall.  Prescott’s lover famously informed us that the Deputy PM’s manhood resembled a “cocktail sausage”. In May 2006, The Sunday Times quoted Linda McDougall, wife of MP Austin Mitchell, as saying that in 1978 Prescott had pushed her “quite forcefully” against a wall and put his hand up her skirt as she opened the door for him to a meeting in her own house just after her husband became an MP; Prescott had not met McDougall before.

Prescott was nicknamed “Two Jags (he owns one Jaguar and had the use of another as his official ministerial car) and many MPs also called him “Two planks” due to his alleged deficiencies in the brainpower area. This later became “Two shags” for fairly obvious reasons. Following exposure of his affair, he lost his department in a cabinet reshuffle but managed to keep the benefits and residences associated with his title -it really was “Carry on Troughing”

In its leaks of MPs’ expenses The Daily Telegraph that Prescott had claimed £312 for fitting mock Tudor beams to his constituency home, and for two new toilet seats in as many years. Prescott responded by saying, “Every expense was within the rules of the House of Commons on claiming expenses at the time”.

4 comments to Trougher Of The Year – John Prescott?

  • MGJ

    Not to belittle his achievements but I think Prezza’s chances will suffer by virtue of having once done a real job and by famously decking the oick with the mullet.

    I just re-read your piece on Baroness Ashton and I fear that, for once in her life, she really is the stand-out candidate with qualifications nobody else can match.

  • j blount

    A couple of weeks ago I met some people from Hull (or Kingston which seems to be the posh part)and they were very proud of Hull being voted city of culture but even prouder of Prescott. They pointed out that he was one of the few MPs who have had a proper job, which is true. The other aspect was that they we proud that a working man, like them, could make it to the top in politics. So, despite being a disgrace(imho) it seems, oddly, that he does inspire people, though not me.
    Clearly he is not as worthy of the trougher award as the Ashton woman. Did I see he recently in pictures with other tossers who were patting themselves on the back for agreeing something with a man from Iran? Now that’s a place we can send her when her present job ends soon.

  • Paris Claims

    If the competition was to be judged on appearance alone, Prescott would be odds on favourite. You forgot to mention, he once took a taxi ( or was it an official car) for a 100 yard “journey” at a Labour conference in Bournemouth, I seem to remember.

  • right_writes

    I agree with your other commenters David…

    Ashton is more deserving and as j blount said… Iran is probably a very good place to send her, with the added bonus that the convention there is to cover at least some and sometimes all of one’s fizzog. Of course the added benefit is that being an extremely unattractive (I don’t mean that physically, although she is definitely challenged) type of lefty, she might even be executed.

    However, I don’t reckon Prescott for the (dis)honour mainly because you have described a lifetime of troughing above, as opposed to a year’s worth.

    Ashton is at it 24 hours a day NOW!

    Vaz is still a contender, but I don’t think that he has understood that he is in a competition yet… There is room for improvement there.

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