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2001: Prescott punches protester
The Labour Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott, has punched a protester who threw an egg at him during a visit to Rhyl in north Wales.

The undignified brawl happened as the Labour deputy stepped off the so-called Prescott Express campaign bus.

Television pictures clearly showed Mr Prescott aiming a left jab at a man after being hit on the side of the face by an egg.

The two men were then involved in a scuffle before the police intervened.

Craig threw an egg at Mr Prescott, who was walking past after getting off the battle bus. Then Mr Prescott grabbed him by the scruff of the neck and thumped him.
Protester's girlfriend

A 29-year-old man was taken away in handcuffs. He was later identified by his girlfriend as Craig Evans, a farm worker from Denbigh.

The woman, who did not want to be named, said: "He's a placid lad who has never been in trouble.

"Craig threw an egg at Mr Prescott, who was walking past after getting off the battle bus. Then Mr Prescott grabbed him by the scruff of the neck and thumped him."

Mr Prescott said: "I was attacked by an individual. In the melee that followed I clearly defended myself. I believe that someone is now being questioned by the police and it would be quite improper and quite wrong to add any further comment."

The television pictures of the incident appear to show Mr Prescott trapped against a wall after his left fist flew and he and the protester became locked together in a struggle.

The deputy prime minister, who was clearly shaken, was then led into the theatre where he was due to address an election rally.

Assistant Chief Constable Clive Wolfendale said: "Clearly if there are any allegations made against him as a result of these incidents, we will investigate. If that means questioning Mr Prescott, we will do that."

Today also saw the launch of Labour's manifesto in Birmingham. But that did not go quite according to plan either, after Prime Minister Tony Blair was confronted by a woman who said Labour had failed the NHS.

Sharron Storer, whose boyfriend is a cancer patient, confronted Mr Blair in full view of the TV cameras, berating him for the treatment her boyfriend had received.

Labour was elected in 1997 on a promise to "save" the NHS but the encounter with Miss Storer forced Mr Blair to admit he had only "just begun" to fulfil some of the promises made four years before.

The manifesto, Ambitions for Britain, has set out 10-year targets for key objectives and there are promises to spend more on education, health and transport over the next three years.

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Watch/Listen
Back of Prescott with egg splattered on jacekt and left arm around  protester
John Prescott and the egg-throwing protester were locked in a struggle

Full footage of the brawl


In Context
A number of newspaper surveys carried out after Mr Prescott's punch suggested the public supported his actions. It earned him the nickname "Two Jabs" - a variation on the more familiar Two Jags from his apparent fondness for luxury cars.

He later described the incident as "frightening and regrettable".

In a news conference Prime Minister Tony Blair explained away the punch-up, saying, "John is John."

Mr Prescott was interviewed by police but he was not prosecuted. The Crown Prosecution Service concluded there was not a realistic chance of convicting Mr Prescott because he had acted in self-defence.

Craig Evans spent several hours in police custody no action was taken against him.

On 8 June 2001 Labour won a second term in government despite a record low turn-out of less than 60%. It won 413 seats, the Conservatives took 166, the Liberal Democrats 52 and others 10.

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