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Monday, 24 September, 2001, 12:42 GMT 13:42 UK
Did Prescott get off lightly?
Britain's deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott, has escaped prosecution for punching a protester during the general election campaign.
Mr Prescott hit out at farmer Craig Evans after being pelted with an egg as he arrived for a speech in Rhyl, Wales.
Several punches were exchanged before the two men were separated.
The Crown Prosecution Service says neither man should face any charges for the fracas.
The incident was one of the most memorable events in an otherwise lacklustre election campaign.
Mr Prescott said at the time that he was acting in self defence. But he was criticised by the opposition for allowing himself to be provoked.
Did Prescott get off lightly? Should he have been prosecuted? Or was it right to draw a line under the incident?
This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
Jon Kennedy, Norway (Ex UK)
Prescott didn't get off lightly - it was self-defence.
No matter who you are - people cannot hurl abuse (and eggs) at you.
After all - he's just a man like the rest of us...
I can't believe that so many people are using the "us and them" scenario. The video evidence is clear, Prescott acted in a flash to an assault. It was a reaction and reasonably justified (who WOULDN'T react to an attack?). There was no pre-meditated plan, unlike Mr Evans egg throwing episode. Prescott is incredibly generous NOT to pursue civil action (and I don't particularly like the guy!).
It's a shame that this was a missed opportunity to rid us all of this thoroughly nasty individual from his powerful position.
It was a natural reaction. I don't like politicians at the best of times but he
had every right to retaliate. No-one has the right to throw anything at
another person just because you may dislike him...
This was just a playground scuffle and I think the CPS was correct in telling both silly little boys to grow up.
If someone threw an egg at me, I'd punch them. Are those who say Prescott should have been prosecuted saying that they wouldn't have done so? Get real.
I mean really - who cares.
Prescott must be happy because the last thing he wants is to be in the limelight and embarrass Blair. Anyway, what does Prescott do? Anyone know? This question was asked a week or so ago but even that has gone quiet too. He must be very powerful.
Just to understand the CPS decision, is self-defence now a legitimate form of violence? Or are politicians above the law?
No, if anything the yob who tossed the egg at him got off easy.
Cameron Poe, UK
One law for Prescott and New Labour and another law for the public. It stinks
John Prescott is to be congratulated. The highlight of the whole election campaign was seeing that grinning yokel get a bunch of fives.
Pete Riches, UK
Lets face it, if John Prescott had provoked Craig Evans in some way and Craig Evans had hit him, Craig Evans would have been charged with assault.
Well, I think this serves as proof that its a matter of who you are, rather than if you did it or not!
Perhaps it was Craig Evans who got off lightly. After all he started the fracas and continued the fight.
Liam Drew, England
Prescott should have been prosecuted.
It is basic to a democratic society that the people making the laws are just as subject to the laws made as those who don't.
I am confused as to why both parties in a violent exchange were not arrested at the scene, as is usually the case in the UK. Rather, the police judged Mr. Evans immediately, and let Mr. Prescott walk away from the incident. Looks like the police know which side their bread is buttered on - always reassuring.
Given the extremely hostile environment in which Mr Prescott encountered, how on earth could the CPS prosecute someone who reacted in a self defence?
Prescott's response was provoked. The egg-throwing was unprovoked. I hate waiting 55 minutes for the hourly bus, but if I threw eggs at Prescott for it, I would expect to be disciplined.
As a public sector worker I would expect to be suspended from work if I punched someone who had startled on me by throwing something at me. I think he has got off very lightly
Charles Frankland, UK
Mr Prescott certainly did not get let off lightly. In fact the months of stress and uncertainty over what action the police may take were completely unnecessary. Mr Prescott is a high-profile target for attack and should have been better protected.
Of course Prescott got off lightly. We can't just make exceptions for someone who's high in the Government.
Prescott didn't just get off lightly - he got off totally. It's a disgrace that a minister of the crown can be seen to get away with this level of violence.
21 May 01 | Talking Point
Did John Prescott overreact?
17 May 01 | Vote2001
Prescott 'regrets' blow
20 Sep 01 | UK Politics
No action over Prescott punch
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