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Last Updated: Wednesday, 4 July 2007, 18:59 GMT 19:59 UK
Prescott in Council of Europe job
John Prescott
John Prescott quit as deputy prime minister last week
Former deputy prime minister John Prescott is to become a British representative to the Council of Europe, it has been announced.

Mr Prescott, who remains an MP after stepping down from government last week, will take an unpaid role on the Parliamentary Assembly of the council.

He will replace Manchester Central MP Tony Lloyd, who is stepping down.

The Council of Europe, based in Strasbourg, was established in 1949 to promote human rights and freedoms.

Mr Prescott, 69, who suffers from diabetes, was treated in hospital for pneumonia last month.

He remains at his grace-and-favour home at Admiralty House, near Trafalgar Square, while he searches for a new home.

"Following his recent illness, [Mr Prescott] is making the necessary arrangements to move out of his official residence," PM Gordon Brown said in a Commons written reply on Wednesday.

Translation 'challenge'

The post - which although unpaid includes expenses - means Mr Prescott will also sit on the Assembly of Western European Union, an assembly for security and defence.

A former MEP, Mr Prescott held a similar position on the Council of Europe in the 1970s.

Shadow Europe minister Mark Francois congratulated Mr Prescott - once voted the public figure who most mangled the English language - and wished the translators luck.

"I understand that the skilled translators they employ are used to reproducing speeches in a whole range of languages, but I suspect John Prescott is about to present them with a challenge, the like of which they have never seen before," he said.

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