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Sunday, 30 July, 2000, 16:36 GMT 17:36 UK
Prescott carpeted over luxury decor
Admiralty House
The flat is part of a Grade I Listed building
The government has defended a 100,000 makeover for the official London residence of Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott.

Reports suggest around 13,000 was spent on carpets as part of the 99,936 renovation of Mr Prescott's flat in Admiralty House since 1997.

John Prescott
Mr Prescott doesn't always travel in a Jaguar
A government spokesman said Admiralty House was a Grade 1 listed building, and the work had to be carried out by law.

But Conservative MP, Andrew Rowbathan, said the deputy prime minister should "go to B & Q like the rest of us".

"This is a hell of a lot of money for carpets," Mr Rowbathan told the Sunday People newspaper.

"Seeing how little time he spends in it, it is hardly worth it."

Four homes

The Cabinet Office is responsible for refurbishment of the outside of the building and individual departments for refurbishing interiors.

A spokesman for Mr Prescott's Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions said: "This is a Grade I Listed building. It is a legal requirement that this work is done."
Palace of Westminister
Revamping the lord chancellor's residence cost taxpayers 650,000

Mr Prescott has already acquired the tabloid nickname "Two Jags" because he is driven around in an XJ8 Jaguar and owns a second-hand XJ6.

He has also attracted criticism recently for his having access to four homes - the central London flat, which is just a short walk from his London office, another he rents in Clapham, south London, his official country residence of Dorneywood and his family home in Hull.

Shadow environment secretary Archie Norman said Mr Prescott was adopting a policy of "do as I say, not as I do".

People are entitled to raise an eyebrow

Archie Norman MP
He added: "A pattern of conduct is developing which raises questions about John Prescott's attitude towards taxpayers' money.

"Public feelings about Mr Prescott's extravagance may not be so strong if he had actually delivered for Britain, but at a time when homelessness has risen, fewer social houses have been built and the transport system is deteriorating, people are entitled to raise an eyebrow."

Mr Prescott is not the first member of the government to come under fire for renovation bills.

Hanging wallpaper

Prime Minister Tony Blair was criticised last year after parliamentary answers showed that almost 1m was been spent modernising and redecorating Number Ten Downing Street after Labour came to power.

The answers estimated around 1,200 for wallpaper.

Rolls of more expensive wallpaper sparked a furore over 650,000 of tax payers' cash being spent on upgrading the official residence of Lord Chancellor Lord Irvine's in 1998.

Among the items singled out by critics was hand-crafted wallpaper for 59,000.

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See also:

08 Jun 00 | UK
Ministers' home sweet home
08 Dec 99 | UK Politics
Labour's beleaguered deputy
17 May 00 | UK Politics
Prescott cleared by Commons committee
20 Apr 98 | UK
Lord Irvine opens his doors
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