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Prescott recalls footballing days
Parliamentary football team, 9 March 1975
Mr Prescott (fifth from left, back row) is thought to have knocked lumps out of several 1970s pop stars

Former deputy prime minister John Prescott has been reminiscing about his days in Parliament's football team.

Hunter Davies, who is ghost-writing Mr Prescott's autobiography, said he had been "not very skilful" and that his "strength was in kicking people".

The Hull East MP's team-mates included future Labour leader Neil Kinnock and Conservative Jonathan Aitken.

In one charity match, Mr Prescott came up against a team of Penthouse Pets - glamour models from the magazine.

Mr Davies is also writing the life story of a slightly more acclaimed player, in the shape of Manchester United and England's Wayne Rooney.

'DJs scarred'

He reveals that one of Mr Prescott's most prized possessions is a programme of Parliament's game against a Showbiz XI on 9 March 1975.

Mr Davies writes in the New Statesman: "He often turned out for the parliamentary team in the 1970s, despite not being very skilful.

John Prescott using Hansard as shin guards
Mr Prescott had a strange line in shin guards

"His strength was in kicking people. Quite a few 1970s pop stars and DJs probably bear the scars to this day."

A photograph from that day in 1975 shows Mr Aitken, later sent to prison for perjury, and Robert Kilroy-Silk - then a Labour MP, but later a talk show host and, briefly, an MEP for the UK Independence Party - were also on the team.

Mr Kinnock, known more for his love of rugby and now a peer, played in goal.

The encounter with the Penthouse Pets would be unlikely in today's more politically correct climate.

It is not known who won that game.

But, just as Mr Aitken promised to rely upon "the sword of truth and the trusty shield of British fair play" before his libel battles, Mr Prescott was known to employ a reputable literary source to protect himself.

A picture from a 1978 game against the German Parliamentarian XI shows the future deputy prime minister strapping copies of Hansard - the record of parliamentary debates - to his legs, by way of shin guards.

In his 38-year career as an MP, Mr Prescott has gained much coverage for his sporting pursuits.

In 2006, he was vilified for playing croquet at his country residence of Dorneywood while running the country.

Later that year he said he felt a "right bloody twit" when he pulled a muscle taking part in a race against some young athletes in Carlisle.

Mr Prescott, who demonstrated a formidable left hook during the 2001 general election campaign when he punched a protester, was also a schoolboy boxer.

SEE ALSO
Prescott injured in 'sprint' race
27 Jan 06 |  UK Politics
Prescott paid for Dorneywood pals
21 Jun 06 |  UK Politics

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