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Last Updated: Friday, 21 July 2006, 14:05 GMT 15:05 UK
Q&A: Prescott's troubles
John Prescott has come out fighting, saying he will not resign. Here's a guide to his recent spate of troubles.

What is the row about?

Since 2002, the deputy prime minister has had seven meetings with Philip Anschutz, the owner of the Dome who wants to be allowed to set up Britain's first super casino on the site. Mr Prescott and his officials stayed at the American millionaire's ranch last summer.

What's the problem with that?

Critics say there is a potential conflict of interest as Mr Prescott may have used his influence to try to get the Dome a casino licence. Mr Prescott also failed to declare the visit in the MPs' register of interests until 11 months later.

What's Mr Prescott's side of the story?

He insists he has no say on casino licences - an independent commission will make a recommendation and then Parliament decides. He just wanted to get six-monthly updates from Mr Anschutz on the Dome project, which was turning polluted land into homes and jobs.

And the ranch visit?

Mr Prescott says he was invited to the ranch and as a cowboy film fan, who also had a role in agriculture talks, he was keen to go. The top civil servant in his department approved the trip. Mr Prescott says he did not know his officials had made a donation to charity rather than paying directly for the stay.

Has Mr Prescott been investigated?

There has been an inquiry by Parliament's watchdog into claims Mr Prescott broke rules about the MPs' register. But the prime minister is the only person who can order an investigation into breaches of the rules for ministers about alleged conflicts of interest - and he says there is no evidence to justify the probe.

What did Parliament's watchdog decide?

The Commons standards and privileges committee says Mr Prescott should have declared his stay with Mr Anschutz immediately. By failing to do so Mr Prescott broke the ministerial code because it was the kind of hospitality people might think could influence his decisions as a minister. But the MPs say no further action is needed as it was put in the register 11 months late.

What about the cowboy outfit given to Mr Prescott?

The watchdog's report confirms that Mr Anschutz gave the deputy prime minister a Stetson, belt, boos and spurs. Mr Prescott's office says they are worth about 600. The MPs say the way the gifts were declared to Mr Prescott's department was not good enough. The minister has accepted those criticisms and says the procedures are being improved.

Is this Mr Prescott's only problem?

Not by a long way. The troubles began when Mr Prescott's affair with his diary secretary, Tracey Temple, was revealed. Then he lost his department in a Cabinet reshuffle. He was later forced to give up one of his grace-and-favour homes after being pictured playing croquet on its lawn with staff during working hours.

What about internet rumours?

Some political bloggers have claimed Mr Prescott has had other affairs. Mr Prescott pointed out that one of the bloggers admits he had no evidence for his claims. He did not deny the allegations outright during a Today programme interview, but said some people might sue.




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