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Prescott: I have 1,800 Facebook friends

By Dave Howard
Newsbeat political reporter

John Prescott spent a decade as Tony Blair's right-hand man and is proud of his work tackling climate change. You may remember him for driving posh Jags but he's now starring in a TV programme called The Class System and Me. He's been telling Newsbeat why he's still working class even though he's got a posh house, as well as how he got into Facebook.

John Prescott
John Prescott says he has 1,800 friends on Facebook

Alright, quick-fire questions. How many bedrooms in your house?

Seven.

What do you drive at the moment?

A Jaguar. But hang on, can we start again? The house cost 28,000 and nobody wanted to buy it because it was in the middle of a council estate. The Jaguar? Well, I buy second-hand ones, four years old. I never pay more than 8,000 for a car.

There are plenty of people who would look at your life and say there's no way you're working class.

Look, if I was wanting to hide it [my wealth], would I have had a television programme come in and look at my house? I've never hidden from that. Many people who started off as working class, now wealthy, say we still have working class values. All I'm saying is, there's an unfair advantage that comes from buying your education. In this country, the top jobs go to people who were privately educated.
John Prescott
John Prescott chats with Jodie Marsh for his new TV show

You were in charge for ten years. You complain about that unfairness, but for a decade you were in a position to change things. Your government hasn't changed anything.

You're stupid! You're not looking at the facts. Yes, in ten years, we've had massive increases in money going to education. But privilege is still bought in the UK today, as it was a hundred years ago. The class system still gives people an unfair advantage.

You once said you suffered from bulimia. It's a very serious illness and it affects a lot of people. Are you over that now?

Oh yes, I was over it before I made the statement. But I'm delighted to hear that B-eat, the organisation that deals with bulimia, had an awful lot of men ring them up and say: "I've been doing that for years, I didn't know it was bulimia". I hope it's a contribution.

How many Facebook friends have you got?

Ha! 1,800 at the last count. I'm not a Facebook guy right? But I wanted to reach out to young people. So I just decided to get into a discussion and a debate. If people want to have a discussion with me I welcome it.

Prescott: The Class System and Me is on BBC Two on Monday at 9pm.



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