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Last Updated: Friday, 6 June, 2003, 08:57 GMT 09:57 UK
John Prescott's gift of the gaffe
John Prescott is back on the front pages after appearing to give journalists a V-sign as he arrived at Downing Street. It's the latest in a long line of colourful incidents involving the deputy prime minister. BBC News Online takes a look at the life and times of John Prescott.
Worst of friends...

Mr Prescott has what you could call a prickly relationship with the press.

Mr Prescott greets journalists
Not one to suffer fools gladly, many a hack has been on the wrong end of a verbal explosion from the MP.

He has been angered in the past by coverage of his homes - he has four - and his speaking style.

Nor has the nickname "Two Jags" gone down well.

So perhaps his gesture as he arrived at the cabinet meeting to discuss the euro reflected his disdain for members of the fourth estate.

Or perhaps it was a verdict on the euro?

Seconds out...

The most famous Prescott incident came in the 2001 General Election campaign.

The famous brawl
Heading for a meeting, Mr Prescott was hit by an egg thrown by a protester.

His reaction? To throw a punch and hurl himself at his attacker.

He said it was an instinctive reaction and he was quickly forgiven by Tony Blair, who said: "John is John and I'm lucky to have him as my deputy."

It was one of the lasting images of the campaign - and "Two Jags" briefly became "Two Jabs".

Road rage...

Mr Prescott is said to be particularly unhappy with his "Two Jags" nickname.

Fondness for cars has prompted "Two Jags" nickname
That originates from his apparent fondness for luxury cars.

And the headline writers had a field day when during the Labour conference of 1999 he used his official car to ferry him a few hundred yards to the conference centre.

Better still for Mr Prescott's foes, he'd been pressing the need for responsible car use.

And just to cap it all, he said the reason for using the car for such a short trip was to avoid messing wife Pauline's hair up.

That, he insisted later, was a joke. But the damage was done.

Plain speaking

Mr Prescott is proud of his blunt approach.

When Tony Blair became Labour leader and Mr Prescott was appointed his deputy they were instantly dubbed "Bambi and Thumper".

Caught out by the cameramen
Some years ago Mr Prescott got into hot water after allegedly wagging an angry finger at Jim Callaghan in a Commons restaurant after the former Labour prime minister had said something he didn't like.

During an summit on the environment, he blamed French environment minister Dominique Voynet for the breakdown of talks.

She described him in return as "an inveterate macho man".

"Macho man - moi?" he said in response.

Other Prescott-isms include a description of PR men, so beloved of New Labour, as "gnats on an elephant's backside".

He's also had a go over the "teenyboppers" in Downing Street who he believed were briefing against him in the early days of the Labour government.

Loose cannon?....

Part of Mr Prescott's problem - though some would say it makes a refreshing change from other politicians - is that he tends to say what he means.

Meet Peter the crab....
And he famously put his foot in it when his dislike of Peter Mandelson surfaced during a photo opportunity at the site of the Millennium Dome.

Posing for cameramen with a crab floating in six inches of water in a jar he joked: "You know what his name is? He's called Peter. Do you think you will get on the executive Peter?"

Mr Mandelson was standing for election to Labour's ruling national executive committee at the time.


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