Page last updated at 22:28 GMT, Sunday, 5 October 2008 23:28 UK

Prescott in two-fingered salute


John Prescott gives two-fingered salute to SNP activists.

The former deputy prime minister John Prescott has been caught giving a two-fingered salute to SNP activists.

SNP members had gathered at Glasgow's Central station to wave off the victor of the Glasgow East by-election, John Mason, as he set off to start his job.

Scottish Labour said Mr Prescott had been showing his anger at the SNP breaking their "key election promises".

But Mr Prescott's spokesman said he had been indicating he expected a Labour victory in a forthcoming by-election.

In July, Mr Mason overturned a Labour majority of 13,507 to win Glasgow East by 365 votes with a swing of 22.54%.

Mr Prescott was on his way to catch a train from Glasgow to London following a visit to the QE2, which had docked at Greenock on its farewell tour of the UK, when he encountered the SNP activists.

An SNP spokesperson said: "Maybe Mr Prescott was upset at the news that Peter Mandelson has been brought back to help Gordon Brown's ailing government whilst having to witness the results of how popular and successful the SNP Government has become in Scotland."

A spokesperson for Scottish Labour said: "This is John's way of showing his anger at the SNP breaking all of their key election promises.

Colourful approach

"We are, however, advising other Labour activists to show their feelings in a different way."

However, a spokesman for Mr Prescott later said he had held aloft his fingers in the victory sign, in reference to the impending by-election in Glenrothes, Fife.

The spokesman added: "John was walking past the SNP supporters who were jeering at him and shouting 'Glenrothes'.

"John put up two fingers to indicate V for victory, as he's confident that Labour can win in Glenrothes."

Mr Prescott, who has become known for his colourful approach to politics, stepped down from government in May and will stand down as an MP for Hull at the next election.

He hit the headlines in the 2001 General Election campaign when he scuffled with a man who threw an egg at him.

New SNP MP arrives at Westminster
30 Jul 08 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
SNP stuns Labour in Glasgow East
25 Jul 08 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
Prescott to stand down as Hull MP
27 Aug 07 |  UK Politics


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