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Naked truth

Nick Robinson | 14:31 UK time, Saturday, 6 May 2006

Well well. John Prescott is no longer to sit on Andy Marr's sofa and bare all (an unfortunate metaphor, I grant you).

I suspect that he is unhappy at the reaction to him losing his government department but keeping his pay and perks. He was also angered by suggestions - which did not emanate from him - that he would shoulder the blame for Labour's poor electoral showing.

Pre-Tracy he would have had the status, and the authority, to call on the party to pull back from the brink and not to let divisions over the future destroy that future. No longer.

PS - Apologies to all yesterday's readers for giving 'too much information'. I was merely trying to add authenticity. That's the naked truth.


  • 1.
  • At 03:07 PM on 06 May 2006,
  • Laura Daly wrote:

John Prescott's problem was not that he had an affair and got caught. It is that in 10 years a DPM he has done nothing. He has failed terribly to run a huge ministry and to deliver any policies. His affair is his problem or not but his lack of delivery and capability are the country's. And who will clean up the mess? Not Ruth Kelly thats for sure.

Nick - I thought your comments around 'naked' issues was amusing. Especially after seeing the Clarke performance. Visions of staggering out the door, trying to tie shoelaces, hang on to notebook, tuck in shirt etc.

BTE - did you know there's a book called Naked Conversations that talks to these issues? Well worth a read IMO.

  • 3.
  • At 03:21 PM on 06 May 2006,
  • Bill C wrote:

I've got a couple of questions:
In your view is the reason he kept his perks and title because if he had been sacked Blair would have lost the support of the old left, or is that just cynical of me?
In addition, although he is now on the back benches, how long do you think it will be before Charles Clark returns to the front bench, or has his candor in his interview with you burnt his bridges?

  • 4.
  • At 03:23 PM on 06 May 2006,
  • Tom Maxwell wrote:

If John Prescott is unhappy at the reaction to him keeping his £134,000 salary, his £100,000 a year expenses, two fabulous Grace and Favour homes and his ministerial Jags just think how the average hard working pressed voter feels funding his lavish lifestyle.

He has his nose well and truely in the trough and quite frankly it's sickening.

I noticed 2 jags only turned up for work on Friday, well I suppose it's as good a day as any to turn up. Then have the w/end of, why not...not much to do now!
Enjoy your blog.

  • 6.
  • At 03:34 PM on 06 May 2006,
  • Chris Rijk wrote:

Labour seem to be consoling themselves with phrases like "after 9 days of bad headlines any party would do badly" - not unreasonable, but seems to imply they expect to bounce back. Those 9 days would have hurt them much more in a general election though. Another well used line goes on about how after 9 years in government, any party starts to have problems - which seems to be a silly thing to say since it's like admitting they've failed to improve things.

As a side-note, I was a bit dissapointed about the lack of analysis on the actual number of council seats won and lost. Most of the analysis has focused on the share of the vote compared to 2004.

Of the 4418 seats reported, the Tories got 1830 (up 316, 7.2%), 41.4% of the total, on 40% of the vote. Labour got 1439 seats (down 319, 7.2%) or 32.6% of the total on 26% of the vote. The Lib Dems got 909 seats (up 2) or 20.6% of the total on 27% of the vote. Others got 240 seats (down 2), 5.4% of the total on 7% of the vote.

So despite the talk of small parties gaining, they actually are down 2 seats. Not only that, but on 240 seats total, that's less than the Tories gained and Labour lost.

  • 7.
  • At 03:43 PM on 06 May 2006,
  • KP wrote:

Am I alone in wondering exactly what Prescott's new role entails? Power without responsibility is surely some sort of promotion, isn't it?

Also, do we remain in his hands whenever Blair leaves the country?

All very distressing

  • 8.
  • At 04:04 PM on 06 May 2006,
  • Iain wrote:

I seem to remember Blair saying when he was in opposition that a divided government was no government at all. I bet he hopes David Cameron doesn't come across that in the achieves when he's preparing for next weeks PMQ.

  • 9.
  • At 04:23 PM on 06 May 2006,
  • Neil wrote:

Hi Nick,

Do you think that stripping John Presscott of his department makes it easier for him to resign in a few days/weeks: i.e. no need for another reshuffle?

P.S. I thought the "too much information" bit was rather funny and 7 minutes is dam immpressive!

  • 10.
  • At 04:29 PM on 06 May 2006,
  • Simon wrote:

He's obviously the Minister without Briefs.

  • 11.
  • At 04:35 PM on 06 May 2006,
  • Dave wrote:

Let's look on the bright side Nick, a Prescott free Sunday morning can't be all bad!!

  • 12.
  • At 04:46 PM on 06 May 2006,
  • lee hannaford wrote:

Who is Des Browne and what background does he have in defence? The only interest he has ever had is that he held the purse strings for the MOD major projects. Oh yes and he is an ally of Gordon Brown who's distain for defence is well known. Just goes to show how much the PM thinks of us really....

  • 13.
  • At 04:52 PM on 06 May 2006,
  • AB wrote:

I remember the last time - or was it the time before- no wait - it may have been the time before that - and who was it - there have been so many - was it Blunket - yes that's right - it was - beware the kiss of death from Blair. If you have his total support you are as good as dead. Is Blair's support not the opportunity to take the honourable way out and resign? When will they never learn this?
Regarding the Prescott affair. He needs congratulating not criticising. Who would have thought it possible. He may be a very pleasant person under that exterior -but please. A lot more of us have renewed hope. You see he has done some good!! I think he deserves all that he is getting now and should get shortly.

It looks like Blair didn't realise that people would be extremely angry about big John keeping his perks. That he could have made such a disasterous misjudgement is surely final confirmation that he's lost any ability he once had to judge the public mood.

My feeling is that Blair didn't move Prescott for fear that it would trigger a Labour deputy leadership election. This would almost certainly have encouraged people in the party to argue that the leadership election should be held at the same time. Any word on that down in the Westminster village?

On the face of it, it seems like a massive miscalculation to leave Prescott in possession of titles and perks without having a job. I have gone beyond believing that Prescott is a "token prole", or a useful "bridge" between Brown and Blair. He must have the 10x8's on Blair. Nothing else explains this, surely?

  • 16.
  • At 05:08 PM on 06 May 2006,
  • R S Loch wrote:

One has to wonder why after all the problems recently Blair is giving the Tories an open goal to shoot at with Prescott's well paid, well bonused, non job. Perhaps Nick you could ask him at his next press conference.

  • 17.
  • At 05:18 PM on 06 May 2006,
  • Lord Cantaloupe wrote:

Nick, just wondering if you've any more thoughts on the Deaf Labour Minister Syndrome. Being severely deaf myself, I was most amused by the attempts of Blunkett and co to feign deafness due to "technical difficulties" just when they were asked a particularly awkward question. My view is this was a deliberate strategy, Nick Brown began
the DLM routine but decided to answer the question anyway. It was the political equivalent of a small child sticking their fingers in their ears whilst screaming "NER NER I CAN'T HEAR YOU".

  • 18.
  • At 05:25 PM on 06 May 2006,
  • DMacD wrote:

Prescott's hubris know no bounds.

It seems that if one lives life at the top of government for long enough then normal responsibilities and duties become irrelevant: all that matters is to be 'in' rather than 'out'.

What a shabby and mediocre way to end a political career.

  • 19.
  • At 05:38 PM on 06 May 2006,
  • Olly, London wrote:

I know you need time off Nick (well deserved after Thursday night), but I would love to have your take on the variety of reactions and comment on the Today prog this morning (Saturday).

The backbench Labour MP, Hesteline, and the two political commentators at the end of the prog all seemed to suggest that the re-shuffle is seriously flawed, and that this lot, and Tone, cannot last. I think the backbenchers will wimp out on Monday night at their meeting with Tone (they always do). But the agony for them, and us, will simply be extended until someone (stalking horse or Gordon) does the deed. I think you are are going to be a very busy chap in the time ahead.

P.S. Take no notice of the "too much info" brigades - I though Brit males had become more cosmopolitan and grown up of late. Keep up the good work

  • 20.
  • At 05:59 PM on 06 May 2006,
  • Sarah wrote:

I don't think this will go away for a while yet. I was visiting in Bedford Hospital Today and the comments from other visitors who had read the Sun's front page which implies Prescott earns £600,000 a year were very explicit. People are outraged and he has no credibility left. Why do you get to keep all that goes with being a minister and the cars, and the houses if you are not doing a ministers job. It doesn't make sense to normal people. Maybe its the price the Prime Minister had to pay to stay on? There has to be some reason why on earth he's there????
Will he be in charge when the PM goes away, will he ever have to answer questions at the Dispatch box again?

  • 21.
  • At 06:06 PM on 06 May 2006,
  • iain stevenson wrote:

Im about to have my dinner so the last image I wanted in my mind was Prescott 'baring all'.Yuck!
Do you think there could be new revelations abut Prescott which may yet force his resignation and thats why hes pulled out of the programme tomorrow?Also,is Tessa Jowell completely in the clear over her husbands finaces yet?Is Blair worried about her getting into more trouble and thats why shes stuck as culture secretary for a 6th year?

  • 22.
  • At 06:12 PM on 06 May 2006,
  • Michele Fowler wrote:

Tony Blair has shown just how week he is and should go. It is obvious that he hasn't the courage or the strength to sack John Prescott.

It is outrageous that Prescott should keep his salary, cars and residences when he is in a non-job. I am not surprised he backed out of Andrew Marr's programme, I would have been if he had had the guts to appear.

He has shown himself to be a hypercrite in his denigration of other MPs who were caught out in adulterous relationships, whilst he was also acting like an alley cat.

  • 23.
  • At 07:16 PM on 06 May 2006,
  • Manjit wrote:

Is it time that we had a written constitution in the UK where the role of every Cabinet minister including the DPM in clearly defined? I think the current situation with John Prescott is unacceptable. Also the situation of people not technically in the Cabinet being able to attend Cabinet meetings such as Geoff Hoon and others seems bizarre.

I also wonder if Nick believes that Charles Clarke will return to the Cabinet in the near future under a Blair or Brown premiership?

After causing so much damage to the Government in the week before an election I am amazed at how well he seems to have done out of it.

It seems he has finally got what he originally wanted back in 1997 when Labour were first elected into office - a free role within the government.

Hopefully he will be forced to realise that the taxpayers dont tend to take to kindly to those public sector workers who dont give value for money e.g. 2 official homes, six figure pay cheque, nice car etc. Dont count on it though.

Nick, what do you make of the stories that differences over Iran policy contributed to Jack Straw's demotion?

Here's hoping you get an early opportunity to ask Margaret Beckett whether an attack on Iran is inconceivable.

  • 26.
  • At 07:42 PM on 06 May 2006,
  • Dennis wrote:

Whats John Prescott got in common with MFI?

A couple of screws in the wrong place and the whole cabinet falls apart.

  • 27.
  • At 07:49 PM on 06 May 2006,
  • Bernard from Horsham wrote:

Dear Nick,
So typical of Labour new or old. When there's something really nasty in the offing, no Labour Govt spokesman can be found to speak on behalf of the Govt. To my knowledge, Mrs Thatcher never did this, when the chips were down she sent in Ken Clarke. It was reported in the press recently that Mr Blair was possibly taking the last steps towards Catholicism...., well he had better learn the last rites, as his administration is now holed below the waterline. When you throw out three of your trusted lieutenants, and replace them with makeweights to protect you from your own party, the "et tu brute" situation I mentioned in a previous post cannot be far away.

  • 28.
  • At 08:34 PM on 06 May 2006,
  • Matt wrote:

Nick - do you think Blair really avoided sacking Prescott to keep the "old left" happy. I just can't believe that Prescott is representative of the old-left anymore. In fact, I'd say he's about as far removed from "working class grass roots" as you can get! I'm amazed the public perception of 2-jags has stayed that way for so long. It always made me laugh the way he'd bring up the old class-divide arguments when facing the Tories. Prescott's about as Capitalist as you can get - snout in the money trough! It's as if he reverts 20-30 years when forced to actually (attempt) to articulate any form of argument. Is this his "link" to the old-left? I thought the old-left had more integrity than to tolerate an oaf like Prescott as their representative. All this plus he couldn't run a bath.

  • 29.
  • At 09:12 PM on 06 May 2006,
  • Barnesian wrote:

Jack Straw is THE big story IMHO. So unexpected and inexplicable. Here is a very experienced operator with a close relationship to Condi Rice - who is unceremoniously ditched with no explanation. Is it Iran or does Jack have a dark secret? I think we should be told.

  • 30.
  • At 09:23 PM on 06 May 2006,
  • Tom Allen wrote:

I would like to know a lot more about the Straw / Beckett situation. Straw would never set the Thames on fire (probably a good fault) but what did he do wrong? And what did he say by way of explaining his sudden demise to his good friend Condee, described as 'the most powerful woman in the world'? And how will Beckett get up to speed with her new international colleagues and why should they have to wait for her to do so? I seriously wonder if Blair has lost the plot.

  • 31.
  • At 09:30 PM on 06 May 2006,
  • Paul wrote:

3 - I think prescott remains DPM because blair dare not remove him. The DPM and party deputy leader are filled by one and the same person. Essentially, I suspect if Prescott is fired his replacement would be elected by the party and I dont suppose Blair is too keen on having Frank Dobson or Dennis Skinner as his deputy....let alone the bloodletting during the deputy leadership contest.

  • 32.
  • At 09:30 PM on 06 May 2006,
  • mark hickman wrote:

Has anybody seen Gordon Brown? I know it makes sense to distance himself from the recent debacle of the last three weeks, but as his succession is so assured, why not get stuck in and be seen to try and sort the mess out? Its not his mess, and he can portray that he is picking up Tony's pieces - or does he lack the capability, or courage, to do this?

  • 33.
  • At 10:16 PM on 06 May 2006,
  • steve allen wrote:

Is it petty jealousy? Is Jack getting too close to Ms Rice? Does Tony worry that if she "goes places", that Jack will be closer to her than he is?

  • 34.
  • At 12:06 AM on 07 May 2006,
  • John Tomlinson wrote:

I can understand Prescott, Clarke et al. But why was Jack Straw demoted from Foreign Secretary? Is it because Blair disagreed with his comments regarding military action in Iran?

  • 35.
  • At 12:59 AM on 07 May 2006,
  • Adrian Yalland wrote:

The Prescott affair really does illustrate all that is wrong with this Government. The Tories were held up for ridicule by Labour in opposition for being 'sleazy', over all manner of things - sexual misdemeanours (David Mellor and many others), playing fast and losse with civil liberties (The Scott Report and the issue of Public Immunity), having their snouts in too many corporate troughs (cash for Questions) - and Labour were swept to power on a promise to be 'whiter than white' on all the things they had criticised the previous Government for. Yet what did we get? Robin Cook bonking his secretary and told to ditch his wife by Alastair Campbell simply to avoid bad headlines, Bernine Ecclestone's million pound bung and...oh, wait a second, that was all within the first Labour Parliament. What about Madelson's reward (a plumb job in Brussells) for his two resignations - both of which he brought on himself, or Jo More and the 'good day to bury bad news' affair, or Stephen Byers and the Railtrack fiasco, Blair and Vaz (the then Minister for Europe) and the Hindujas, the Dodgy Dossier...the list is endless. We now have Labour effectively selling peerages - actually giving people the right and ability to influence legislation in return for money (not the first time either - remember 'cash for access' in 1998). So, against this backdrop of a preachy moralising and puritanical nanny-like Government who loves to tell us what to eat, how to think, what to spend our money on - John Prescott really is the final straw. This Government is - to a man - morally redundant on a scale which surpasses even the worst excesses of the Major years. This lot are clearly in it for themselves and themselves only. Blair is obsessed with his place in history - regardless of the consequences to the country. The Dep PM abusing his perks to cheat on his wife is therefore no surprise. But the surprise is, his reward for doing so. A slap on the wrists, the right to hang onto his pay, perks and position without actually being responsible for delivering anything (which many might add, given his appalling record so far, is probably a small mercy for the rest of us who subsidise this mans lifestyle). The simple fact is, Labour have created a professional political class which is bleeding the taxpayer dry - and the amount of money pumped into public institutions, QUANGOs and political bodies is now out of control. We need fewer politicians, not more. And the ones we have should be held accountable for their failings and rewarded for their successes. Under this analysis, John Prescott should go back to serving gin and tonics on cross channel ferries!

  • 36.
  • At 01:27 AM on 07 May 2006,
  • scott wrote:

Prescot must feel like he has lost, he could probably go look back at his past, when he was younger and remember his dreams and passions for politics. And for it all to turn out like this for him, he has the important post, but has lost the respect and dignity...

  • 37.
  • At 05:52 AM on 07 May 2006,
  • Jennifer wrote:

I'm not terribly bothered about John Prescott, although I was rather interested to hear what he would say.

What intrigues me is the matter of Jack Straw, as I haven't heard many convincing explanations yet. Do you think it was the handling of Iran? If so, it seems odd to replace him with Margaret Beckett, considering that on QT this week she seemed quite openly to be none too fond of the Bush administration.

Despite that encouraging sign, though, I can't envision her doing a better job in the immediate crisis than someone who, whatever his views, was at least competent and experienced. I certainly hope she proves me wrong. I would love to know what you make of it!

  • 38.
  • At 08:19 AM on 07 May 2006,
  • Andrew Kitching wrote:

I think Prescott will now be systematically attacked in The House by the Tories. A Cabinet minister with no department and all the perks...nice work if you can get it! Will he have his own 'Question Time' though?

On an unrelated matter. Nick, do you know what has happened to Alan Watkins? No 'Indy on Sunday' column for a month now. Is he ill, or have they dispensed with his services? I always look forward to what he has to say.

I really enjoy this blog too by the way.

  • 39.
  • At 08:55 AM on 07 May 2006,
  • Tim MYER wrote:


so little comment has taken place about Jack Straw's demotion ,what is the real story behind this headline?

  • 40.
  • At 09:21 AM on 07 May 2006,
  • Anon wrote:

Nick - Coverage of Prescott's demise is all very well, but I'm disappointed you're not covering the appalling implications of TB's appointment of Margaret Beckett as his glove puppet foreign secretary. It's obvious that TB got rid of Jack Straw because Straw has publicly said that bombing Iran would be mad. The implication of appointing Beckett is that TB wants to clear all obstacles to his joining the US in taking military action againt Iran. Iran has said that if it is attacked, it will attack Israel. Israel is a nuclear power and, in any case, incapable of moderation. If, sorry, when, Israel retaliates this will bring the rest of the Middle East into the conflict... Conclusion: Beckett's appointment as foreign secretary means we are all in deep trouble.

  • 41.
  • At 09:34 AM on 07 May 2006,
  • John wrote:

I am the only person who thought Jack Straw was stunningly arrogant, very uninspiring, and totally lacking in creative leadership (simpering around after TB instead)?

On the world stage, when there is so much leadership required, what initiatives has JS come up with? One of the problems with taking a view on governmental leadership by their handling of 'emerging problems' (i.e. either flare-ups such as tsunamis, or trumped-ups like Iran) is that long term thinking and leading becomes irrelevant. If you want, for example, to have a general mandate to clamp down on terrorists, and otherwise intervene in 'rogue states', fine: go and reform the UN Security Council indeed the UN Charter. If you want action on disarmament make the UN Committee on Disarmament actually work, or the NNPT, or the TBT, work. Don't just pontificate about that 'terror network' or this 'rogue state', as the moment requires and permits.

JS, from the longer term, broader view, was bad and irritatingly so. His view of Condi was depressingly fawning, and his negativity to action on Iran was much less likely to hold than that of Colin Powell on Iraq. No idea if MB will be any better, but good riddance.

By the way, Naked Nick (can we all please start using this moniker?), this is a good blog for discussion of politics: well done for that. Of course, if you really want to personalise it properly, you need to give us a lot more personal view: e.g. "That Minister XXXX is a complete XXXX," etc.

  • 42.
  • At 10:16 AM on 07 May 2006,
  • Hemant Patel wrote:

There's ample analysis on the reshuffle and the in's and out's but nary , including in the press , a word on Jack Straw and why he's been moved.

Is there a perception he too carried a burden of responsibility whilst at the Home Office?

I'm intrigued and would love to read your take on this one!

Funny how Gordon Brown could not be found before the elections but is now unavoidable - not least, taking Prescott's place on Andy's sofa.

I'd say that so far he is doing an excellent job steering the coup that canot be a coup.

  • 44.
  • At 10:54 AM on 07 May 2006,
  • Pamela Stewart wrote:

Beckett was being rewarded for being a 'Yes' person.
The nation would like to know what her views are on Iran, and whether, again, it will be military action side by side with Bush for yet another war?

  • 45.
  • At 12:03 PM on 07 May 2006,
  • Carlos Cortiglia wrote:

John Prescott has no problems. He lives in a house paid by the state, using two cars paid by the state, having a salary paid by the state, without having to work for it.

  • 46.
  • At 05:14 PM on 07 May 2006,
  • brian johnson wrote:

why dont you ask the labour ministers the bleeding obvious question the country would like to know "you were elected on a mandate that said education education education, and you would save the nhs, and yet the nhs is a shambles beyond belief and the education system is a shadow of its former self where most of the provisions which allowed clever poor kids to have a chance of making it through education have gone" please dont take the lies of statistics on the nhs as answers as any chat with people forced to wait in a and e, or in other queues would tell you these are very much nonsense

really prescott can sleep with whoever, we want to know how the medical services of ordinary people can be so bad and yet this lot are still in power, and why blair gets to queue jump in the nhs and gets of scott free on that issue with the press?

  • 47.
  • At 07:06 PM on 07 May 2006,
  • chud wrote:

I am very disappointed in the stance taken by John Prescott for two reasons:
1. Exactly one week ago I placed a bet with two colleagues for 100 pounds each that he would resign by midnight ..tonight!

2. Morally he is shot to bits. A military officer would resign...It is an unwritten rule. As a very senior member of parliament it goes without saying that he should have resigned. John its easy ...go to your desk and write your resignation. This is the honourable thing to do. I do not (surely?) need to point out the disgrace and dishonour which you have brought to the office of DPM. If you really hurry you can have it written and dated by midnight tonight.

Dennis (#26)-- the last time I heard that MFI joke was in the dying days of the Major administration. If that's anything to go by, Blair's a goner.

  • 49.
  • At 09:06 PM on 07 May 2006,
  • Robin wrote:

If Brown IS New Labour we don't want him. If Brown is NOT New Labour we didn't vote for him.

The new leader requires a new mandate.

  • 50.
  • At 11:18 PM on 07 May 2006,
  • Neil Small wrote:

The only reason that Prescott has kept his (ineffective) position is his influence over the left of the party and the repsect he has from many union leaders. Remember that speech he made when John Smith was party leader? It was an extremely powerful oration. While I do not rate Prescott as a cabinet member, he is very good at debating. Remove Prescott and Blair has had it.

  • 51.
  • At 11:44 PM on 07 May 2006,
  • Colin Johnston wrote:

Hello Nick
Now that Brown and his supporters have started their pincer movement to force out Blair, is this an appropriate time to raise the West Lothian question again?
It is impossible for an Englishman MP to be First Minister in Scotland, so why should we English have to accept a Scottish MP as Prime Minister?

  • 52.
  • At 08:27 AM on 08 May 2006,
  • Mike Towl wrote:

Well Nick,
Re:- All of the above comments on Prescott. Todays your, or James Lansdale's, big chance at the press confrence to ask Blair himself a simple question on behalf of all of us. WHY?

  • 53.
  • At 09:39 AM on 08 May 2006,
  • Andrew wrote:

It seems most people agree that the reshuffle was a smoke-screen. Nick, please probe deeper into the "Peter Law/Peter Hain peerage for stepping aside" story. It is very unusual for a minister from this government to apologise for anything, so why now, after Hain was named by Elfyn Llwyd for the "offer on the specific authority of the prime minister"?
A reshuffle and an apology, that'll throw the press off the scent.

  • 54.
  • At 11:27 AM on 08 May 2006,
  • Yeliu Chuzai wrote:

Hi Nick, admire your work.
Finally the BBC seems to have found a worthy successor to Robin Day ! (wink smiley)

No commentator has raised the key issue of the Blair reshuffle - why not Brown ?
Brown has been in place for 9 years (a record), in a nice, risk-free job.
Long since run out of ideas, just tinkers with taxes now.
A Chancellor with ambitions to be PM should have gained experience in the other high offices - Foreign and Home.
Of course, as we have seen, these carry far more career risk.
Brown's long-term and unquestioned monopoly over Treasury, has blocked the career options of other ministers (Clarke, an economist, would probably have made a good Chancellor, but was only offered high risk jobs).

This is a major issue for the country: it may be good from an economic viewpoint to have a Chancellor who doesn't do much anymore except 'photo shoots, but it is not good for government effectiveness, and it shows Brown to be a very strange bird indeedy.
NOT PM material.

  • 55.
  • At 12:56 PM on 08 May 2006,
  • AB wrote:

Nick, can you, or someone else, explain the thinking behind this move to partially demote Prescott? If he needed to keep Prescott why not leave him as he is or rearrange his portfolio in a non-humiliating manner? After all, the heat and attention would be focussed on the Clarke and Straw sackings. If he needed to get rid of him for his incompetence as well as his sexual pecadillos, why not just sack him outright? This halfway house will weaken him fatally, anger his supporters and provide an open goal for the Tories especially as he is keeping his perks (now taxable I understand). Its the worst of all worlds. Can someone please explain the strategy to this poor muddled individual.

  • 56.
  • At 02:29 PM on 08 May 2006,
  • Eileen Murphy wrote:

Like a lot of your other bloggers I to am mystified about why Jack Straw was reshuffled when there are other more suitable applicants who should have had the honour of a quick reshuffle. From his thumbs up to the media as he went into No 10 I think it must have hit him like a bolt from the blue. My puzzlement is why did Patricia Hewitt, after her comments about it being the best best year ever for the NHS and the ensuing furore at the nurses conference, drop off the media radar to be replaced with the antics of Prescott? Sorry - silly question really, of course sex (usually) is more exiting than the health of the nation but from Clarke and Hewitt must go, it became Clarke and Prescott must go. Why did it not become a trio - Clarke, Hewitt and now Prescott? Hewitt must be thanking God for Prescott. Of course, if he had any ethics or any moral compass at all he would resign, but as other bloggers have commented, this government is littered with people who have been found out, forced to resign and then rewarded with an even better job. And they wonder why everyone is becoming disenchanted with Politicians.

  • 57.
  • At 02:49 PM on 21 Aug 2006,
  • Simon Banks wrote:

Remember the joke about Prescott - a couple of misplaced screws and the whole cabinet falls apart. There's got to be a sequel joke that involves Prescott, screws and pound?

  • 58.
  • At 05:23 PM on 04 Sep 2006,
  • Pat wrote:

I'd forgotten about this post.. eeeew :)

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