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Last Updated: Wednesday, 31 January 2007, 14:38 GMT
'I'm demob happy', says Prescott
John Prescott
Mr Prescott said judgements on his department were out of his hands
Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott has declared he is in a "happy demob stage" of his political career, amid Commons taunts about his role in government.

Tory MP Andrew Mackay said there was "absolutely no need" for Mr Prescott's department and that it would go along with him later this year.

But the Deputy PM said it was for the next prime minister, expected to be Gordon Brown, to "make that judgement".

Mr Prescott also fended off Tory jibes about punching an egg-thrower in 2001.

'Rather happy'

The deputy prime minister has said he will leave government at the same time as Prime Minister Tony Blair - who has said he will leave Downing Street by September this year.

Mr Mackay called for a review of his department, asking: "Are you concerned that the review would decide there's absolutely no need for your department?

Could you tell us how many of the bloody noses you intend to inflict?
Sir Patrick Cormack, Conservative

"And do you believe that when the Chancellor of the Exchequer [Gordon Brown] becomes prime minister you, and the department, will be scrapped?"

Mr Prescott replied: "I leave whoever it is to be the next prime minister to make that judgement but I'm bound to say to you, I'm in a rather happy demob stage, so I can really say that."

He told Conservatives and Liberal Democrats he was proud of the government's record, adding: "Stand by for getting another bloody nose in the election."

Tory Sir Patrick Cormack reminded Mr Prescott of the punch he had landed on an egg-throwing protester during the 2001 election campaign.

He asked: "Could you tell us how many of the bloody noses you intend to inflict?"

Sign of the times?

Mr Prescott replied: "I do recall at that election we won it."

Earlier, shadow foreign secretary William Hague asked: "Will you confirm that, despite the initiative on departmental efficiency savings, you have managed to spend 645 changing the sign outside your office from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister to the deputy prime minister's office.

Mr Hague said this was a "shocking waste of money".

But Mr Prescott said the sign was a matter for the civil service and teased Mr Hague over his rates for after-dinner speeches.

"I hear the argument of the 634 - it wouldn't have paid for one sentence of the speech you give at the rate you charge."

Mr Prescott has been an MP since 1970 and deputy prime minister since 1997.


SEE ALSO
When Prescott served Eden
25 Jan 07 |  UK Politics
Brando should play me - Prescott
11 Apr 06 |  UK Politics
Profile: John Prescott
31 May 06 |  UK Politics

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