UK Politics

Lord Prescott takes his place in the House of Lords

John Prescott has taken up his seat in the House of Lords, becoming Baron Prescott of Kingston-Upon-Hull.

Labour's former deputy PM was among a number of ex-ministers to be given peerages after the election in May.

Lord Prescott, deputy to Tony Blair for 10 years, was watched by his wife Pauline, who sat in one of the public viewing galleries.

Although reportedly against taking a peerage in the past, he now says it will enable him to campaign on issues.

The 72-year old has officially became Baron Prescott during a short ceremony in the House of Lords, although he will be known as Lord Prescott.

Wearing traditional ermine robes, he pledged allegiance to the Queen, signed the official documents before departing the Lords chamber, pausing briefly to chat to Conservative peer Lord Strathclyde, the leader of the house.

After he stood down as deputy leader in 2007, Mr Prescott reportedly indicated that he would not be following in their footsteps.

"I don't want to be a member of the House of Lords," the Daily Mail reported him as saying in August 2008, although he denies ever saying it.

Mr Prescott has remained active in political life despite standing down as the MP for Hull East at the last election.

Politically active

He campaigned vigorously for Labour - travelling the country in a battle bus - and has since said he wants to be the party's Treasurer to help improve its finances.

Speaking after it was announced he would be nominated for a peerage in May, he said he was not ready for "his pipe and slippers" yet.

"I tell you what. The Lords is a place of class, no doubt about that, and I'd like to be in the battle there, like I am elsewhere," he said.

He said he wanted a platform to continue to make the case for jobs, social justice and environmental protection and denied he had been talked into it by his wife.

"I make my own decisions. Of course I'd be influenced by my wife, but I'm not doing it for that."

Former Labour MPs Quentin Davies, who defected from the Tories in 2007 and became a defence minister, and ex-Cabinet Office minister Angela Smith also took their places in the Lords. They were sworn in as Lord Davies of Stamford and Baroness Smith of Basildon.

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