John Prescott, who was UK’s Deputy Prime Minister from 1997 to 2007, is to become a special adviser to Labour leader Ed Miliband with responsibility for climate change. Mr. Miliband is believed to have said that Lord Prescott is the best person for “bashing heads together”.
Born in Prestatyn, Flintshire (now in Denbighshire), Wales, in 1938, Lord Prescott represented Hull East as a Labour MP (Member of Parliament) from 1970 to 2010.
In his Mirror column, he wrote:
“My brief is to raise ambition on this crucial issue and I am proud to help the man I hope will be the next prime minister so that together we can help the next generation.”
Ed Miliband (left) and Lord Prescott.
Lord Prescott was the European Union’s lead negotiator at the Kyoto talks which led to the first worldwide agreement on reducing carbon emissions in 1997.
Mr. Miliband wrote in the Observer that he would like the December Paris talks to set a target of zero global carbon emissions for the second half of this century.
A move against UKIP and the Greens?
BBC’s political correspondent Robin Bryant wondered whether the appointment might be part of Labour’s strategy to deal with the UKIP threat. UKIP is targeting traditional Labour voters in the north of England.
Having a robust climate change approach before May’s general election might also prevent Labour voters from switching over to the Green Party, Mr. Bryant added.
Regarding his place of birth, Lord Prescott said in 2009:
“I’ve always felt very proud of Wales and being Welsh…I was born in Wales, went to school in Wales and my mother was Welsh. I’m Welsh. It’s my place of birth, my country.”
When he was four, the family moved to Brinsworth in South Yorkshire. Later they moved to Upton in Cheshire.
A career in the Merchant Navy
In 2001, John Prescott landed a left hook on protester Craig Evans, who had thrown an egg at him.
He became a waiter and steward in the Merchant Navy, working for Cunard, and was a very popular left-wing union activist.
John Prescott served in the cruise from England to New Zealand in 1957. Sir Anthony Eden, who was recuperating after his resignation over the Suez Crisis, was among the passengers. Lord Prescott described him as a “real gentleman”.
In 1968, he obtained a BSc in economics and economic history at the University of Hull.
He won several boxing contests, at which Eden presented prizes. Later in his life as an MP, the whole country saw him punch a man in the street who threw an egg at him during a general election campaign.
Three leaders make united climate change pledge
The heads of Britain’s three main political parties, David Cameron (Conservatives), Ed Miliband (Labour) and Nick Clegg (Lib-Dems) pledged earlier this month to work together to combat climate change, regardless of who wins May’s general election.
The three leaders jointly said that climate change was one of the world’s greatest threats.
Global warming is not only bad for the environment, but also for the prosperity of nations, they added.
In their joint statement, they said:
“Acting on climate change is also an opportunity for the UK to grow a stronger economy, which is more efficient and more resilient to the risks ahead. It is in our national interest to act and ensure others act with us.”