John Prescott defends decision to accept peerage

Image caption,
John Prescott was Tony Blair's deputy for 10 years

Former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott has defended his decision to accept a peerage, saying he never ruled out sitting in the House of Lords.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme, he said he took the peerage because he wanted to influence environmental policy.

And he made clear his decision did not come after pressure from his wife.

"I make my own decisions," said Mr Prescott, who stood down at the general election after 37 years as an MP.


Mr Prescott, who was Tony Blair's deputy for 10 years, said: "Of course I'll be influenced by my wife [Pauline], but I'm not doing it for that.

"It provides me an opportunity on environment," he added.

Mr Prescott once indicated he would not follow in the footsteps of other former Labour figures who have left the Commons and joined the Lords - like Lords Kinnock and Hattersley - reportedly saying: "I don't want to be a member of the House of Lords. I will not accept it."

John Prescott was made a peer in the Dissolution Honours on Friday. The list is made at the end of every Parliament to allow outgoing prime ministers to reward colleagues.

He and the others named in the list will only officially become peers once they have been sworn in.

The 71-year-old responded to his appointment on his Labour blog, saying: "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."

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