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Tuesday, 28 November, 2000, 11:55 GMT
Prescott's problems

Some of John Prescott's critics at Labour's party conference this year
Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott has found himself at the centre of a row over sexism in politics, but his list of troubles is much longer...

  • Labour and Lords rebellions over his controversial plan to privatise the National Air Traffic System could scupper his long-awaited Transport Bill.

  • His blunt speaking has plunged Anglo-French relations into a name-calling row over the failure to reach an agreement at The Hague climate change summit.

  • Under his stewardship of the rail network, the system appears to be caught up in a constant series of crises.

  • Tuesday's rural white paper has been two years in the making.

  • Press reports suggest that Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Mandelson, a longtime rival, is interested in becoming transport secretary after the next election.

    Such a move that would strip away a key part of Mr Prescott's current portfolio.

  • He offered an early hostage to fortune soon after the 1997 election when he declared: "I will have failed if in five years there are not more people using public transport and fewer journeys by car."

    The remark looks likely to return haunt him, with car use increasing as the rail network's failings force more people onto the roads.

  • The deputy prime minister, long nicknamed "Two Jags", was caught using an official car to travel a few hundred yards down an esplanade within the secure zone at Labour's 1999 party conference in Bournemouth.

  • While deputising for Tony Blair at prime minister's question, he was revealed as painfully unaware of controversial European Union plans for a withholding tax on savings.

  • Mr Prescott caused offence to pro-bloodsports campaigners outside this year's Labour conference when he told delegates inside it that seeing the "contorted faces" of the Countryside Alliance made him all the more eager to get fox hunting banned.

  • His giant superministry, the Departmnent of the Environment, Transport and Regions, is often attacked as being too large and unwieldy to be run effectively.

  • His insistence that the privatisation of London's Tube will go ahead, against the wishes of Londoners, may see the capital's mayor, Ken Livingstone, take the government to court.

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    See also:

    28 Nov 00 | UK Politics
    Prescott 'macho' row refuses to die
    27 Nov 00 | Europe
    'Male chauvinist' Prescott
    26 Nov 00 | Sci/Tech
    Dismay at climate summit failure
    25 Nov 00 | UK Politics
    Angry Prescott storms out
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