Westminster Daily

By London_Nick Last edited 139 months ago
Westminster Daily
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Prescott Plays Away

Oh yes, the most unlikely news. Prescott, the multiple-Jaguar owning, language-mangling trouser-stretching (yes, in THAT way too, evidently) Deputy PM has had an affair with a woman 20 years his junior. His lover, Tracey Temple, was at the time Prescott's assistant private secretary, and took on the role of diary secretary to Two Jags. They began an illicit relationship at an office party in 2002, and started meeting secretly in a flat in Whitehall afterwards.

The best quote on the affair hails from ex-fiancé of Prescott's lover:

"I just can't believe that my darling Tracey has been sleeping with John Prescott behind my back."

How many people can claim that. Well, on the up side, it's something to tell the grandkids (after taking a DNA test of course)

Apparently Prescott's wife Pauline is sticking by her man, but the swarm of reporters outside their Hull home have found it to be empty. The word on the street is that there will be more revelations aout Prescott's love life. Londonist cringes in anticipation.

Clarke "Offered His Resignation"

Now on to some real news. Home Secretary Charles Clarke had a pretty bad day today. First he had to sit red-faced at Prime Minister's Questions, while the PM defended his honour, and then he had to make his own statement to the House amid Tory jeers and shouts of "You're on your own now!"

The row is over some 1,023 foreign national criminals, many of them violent, who should have been considered for deportation or removal, but were released "without the appropriate consideration". 288 had even been released since ministers were first told of the problem last summer.

Clarke told the Commons today that the "failure was deeply regrettable" and his "immediate priority is to set that right".

The implications are dire for a Government that promised in 1997 to be tough on crime, and tough on the causes of crime. Allowing potentially dangerous convicted criminals to walk free when the law states that they should be considered for deportation is hardly tough.

Apparently Clarke phoned Blair last night before the story broke and offered his resignation, but the PM refused. However, after a tough PMQs and subsequent statement, the Home Secretary's future is far from certain.

Even now, quite a few of the criminals' locations are not known by the police, in what is turning out to be potentially one of Labour's biggest cock-ups since coming to power. Londonist watches with interest.

Last Updated 26 April 2006