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Last Updated: Friday, 6 June, 2003, 14:29 GMT 15:29 UK
Prescott laughs off V-sign
John Prescott
Sign language: Mr Prescott makes his point

Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott joked about his two-fingered gesture, when he made a visit to Tyneside on Friday.

He was in Newcastle to deliver a speech to hundreds of delegates at a meeting to discuss urban renewal and city development.

But he found time to refer to the controversial V-sign hand gesture he made to journalists outside 10 Downing Street.

Asked directly about it, he said: "Second question. I can ignore them."

Earlier, he had told delegates about his stay a stay at the five-star Hotel Malmaison on Newcastle's Quayside.

I thought, why not try a bit of sign language, but I have had enough trouble with that
John Prescott

Mr Prescott revealed he had been confused after being told which "etage" he would be staying on in French, rather than which floor, in English. He said: "I have my problems with English, never mind French.

"Then I thought, why not try a bit of sign language, but I have had enough trouble with that as it is. I am not having any of that."

Mr Prescott continually referred to his difficulties with the media during the event.

John Prescott's gesture to reporters outside Downing Street
John Prescott's gesture to reporters outside Downing Street
At one point, answering a question from the floor, he asked: "What would the press do if they hadn't had someone to have a go at in the government?"

His audience responded with laughter to his jokes about reporters, which began from the moment he arrived, and said "Good morning the press" with a wry smile.

He went on to tell the delegates: "We want an England where economic imbalances are ironed out and where the only difference between regions is the accent you hear and the unique cultures and traditions that you see.

"We have gone some way towards this with the massive regeneration that has helped transform our major cities.

"Places like Newcastle, Liverpool and Sheffield - written off in the past - are unrecognisable today."



Cities 'have key to success'
06 Jun 03  |  West Yorkshire
John Prescott's gift of the gaffe
06 Jun 03  |  Politics

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