[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Monday, 8 August 2005, 22:53 GMT 23:53 UK
Prescott gives family No 10 tour
Mr Prescott with the Patel family
Mr Patel said the deputy prime minister stayed off politics
A family were given an impromptu tour of Number 10 after they bumped into John Prescott in Whitehall.

The Patel family were invited in to the famous address after they got chatting to the deputy prime minister, who is standing in for holidaying Tony Blair.

Pinakin and Premila Patel, of Harrow, north west London, were looking at a new war memorial to women with their daughters when Mr Prescott approached.

IT consultant Mr Patel said Mr Prescott was a good guide who "knew his stuff".

The deputy prime minister had abandoned his Jaguar, after a meeting with ministerial colleagues, in favour of a stroll in the August sunshine.

It was certainly a good holiday highlight
Pinakin Patel

He struck up a conversation with the family as they looked at the memorial to women who had contributed to the war effort.

Then, to their surprise, he asked if they fancied taking a look inside the seat of power.

Mr Patel said: "I was totally taken aback - I thought he was joking at first, and then I thought maybe he only meant the kids, but it was all of us.

"It was a really pleasant surprise and they loved it, it was certainly a good holiday highlight.

"I don't think they realise the importance of what takes place there but they will in the future and they'll remember it forever."

'Main guy'

He continued: "It was more for the kids, it was more on their level.

"It was almost like a private tour. He knows his stuff.

"They thought he was a very nice man, but I don't think they understood that he is the main guy in the absence of Tony Blair."

Once inside, the family got to see the Cabinet Room, the White Room, which is often the setting for interviews, and the Grand Staircase with portraits of Britain's previous prime ministers.

John Prescott with the Patel family
The Patel family were on a sight-seeing trip to central London

After a 15-minute private tour, the Patels were then escorted out by Mr Prescott.

When asked for his personal assessment of Mr Prescott, the 38-year-old father of three said: "For the day he was great."

It is not the first time the deputy prime minister has treated families to unexpected tours of the corridors of power.

His spokesman said he had previously shown families around his own historic offices, the Commons and Downing Street.

From two jags to two fingers
24 Jun 05 |  UK Politics
Prescott leaps to aid of kayaker
16 Aug 04 |  UK Politics
Prescott's deflating experience
08 Nov 04 |  UK Politics

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific