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Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 May 2006, 11:40 GMT 12:40 UK
In quotes: Prescott under pressure
Newspapers have been piling pressure on John Prescott to resign, using photos of the deputy prime minister playing croquet in support of their case. What have his friends and foes been saying?

THE LOYALISTS

Defence Secretary Des Browne:

Des Browne

He's given a lifetime of service to the party. Without his contribution - among others - we wouldn't have had three terms of government.

I know he has been damaged by events in his personal life - those are, in my view, private matters and should remain so.

He should be judged by his contribution.

International Development Secretary Hilary Benn:

Hilary Benn

I do think he's right for the job.

I spent the day [Sunday] in Downing Street at a meeting that John Prescott chaired looking at what we were doing in response to this earthquake in Yogyakarta.

He then came over the road to thank the different emergency teams that have been working since the early hours of Saturday morning.

Now that's John Prescott at work - a side of him that people don't always see, the press certainly don't report, and he was getting on with the job.

Paul Clark MP, Mr Prescott's parliamentary private secretary:

Paul Clarke

On Thursday [when the game of croquet took place] the deputy prime minister was not standing in for the prime minister.

He stands in for him only when he goes on holiday. He went on holiday on Saturday.

This was an away-day for the deputy prime minister's staff, who've had a change of responsibilities.

Ian MacKenzie, former special adviser to Mr Prescott:

Anybody who has worked for him will tell you trying to persuade him not to work a 16-hour day, a seven-day week and a 51-week year is very difficult indeed.

If I had a criticism, I would say he is a workaholic.

THE CRITICS

Stephen Pound, Labour MP for Ealing North:

Stephen Pound

There's still a sort of residual loyalty [among constituents], there's quite a bit of affection.

But everybody now recognises that the sell-by date is rapidly approaching.

It's very difficult to say why somebody should get 130 grand a year for playing croquet.

Michael Foster, Labour MP for Hastings & Rye:

Michael Foster

We're being misrepresented because people are totally focused on the happenings, not just with regard to the prime minister, but also in respect of the deputy prime minister.

We have got to have a leadership that has the confidence of the whole party that is attractive in putting forward our policies.

Shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley:

Andrew Lansley

I think probably John Prescott at the moment should have no job in government.

We have arrived at the point where the public are right in thinking that John Prescott no longer serves a purpose in governing the country, only a purpose in trying to hold together the fragile peace in the Labour Party.

Liberal Democrat deputy leader Vince Cable:

Vince Cable

John Prescott has become a national laughing stock.

By only half-sacking the deputy prime minister at the reshuffle, Tony Blair created this mess by not having the courage or conviction to finish the job.

The fact that John Prescott is being paid large sums of money to do little or nothing adds to the general malaise surrounding this government and the feeling that ministers are incapable of tackling serious issues.

Cross-bench peer Lord Rees-Mogg:

John Prescott has made the government look greedy and ridiculous. Labour is seen as the corrupt party. The government has been fulfilling the old rule that oppositions do not win elections, governments lose them.




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Labour MPs comment on John Prescott



SEE ALSO
Profile: John Prescott
05 May 06 |  UK Politics
Prescott and PM's future 'linked'
30 May 06 |  UK Politics
Prescott's future is questioned
28 May 06 |  UK Politics
Labour deputy 'must be a woman'
28 May 06 |  UK Politics

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