A majority of the British public, including supporters of the governing
Labour Party, believes that embattled Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott should
resign, according to a poll published Tuesday.
Deputy Prime Minister
John Prescott (R) and his wife Pauline (C) react at the opening of the
William Wilberforce Institute for the study of Slavery and Emancipation
(WISE) in Hull, northern England, July 6, 2006. Parliament launched a full
inquiry on Thursday into Prescott's contacts with an U.S. billionaire who
hopes to open a London casino in the Millennium
Prescott, who has been Prime Minister Tony Blair's link to left-wing party
supporters, has been undermined by recent disclosures of an affair with a civil
servant in his office and his meetings with an American billionaire who is
seeking a casino license in London.
In the Populus poll commissioned by The Times, 70 percent of the respondents
though Prescott should resign. Among Labour voters, 59 percent wanted Prescott
The poll also showed an increase in the number of those who want Blair to
step down this year _ 49 percent in the current survey compared with 41 percent
Blair has said he will resign before the next national election but has
resisted pressure to set a date.
The Populus poll was based on telephone interviews with 1,512 adults on July
7-9, and had a margin of error of 3 percentage points.
Prescott recently confirmed that he has met twice a year with Philip
Anschutz, an oil, media and transport billionaire who has taken over the vast
Millennium Dome in London. Anchutz is seeking a license to operate a casino
there, but Prescott says the two never discussed that issue in their meetings.
After the story broke, Prescott agreed to record his stay at Anschutz's
Colorado ranch in the Register of Members' Interests, the official record of
lawmakers' financial dealings.
Philip Mawer, the parliamentary commissioner for standards, said he will hold
a full inquiry into the matter.
Prescott, 68, admitted earlier this year that he had had a fling with his
diary secretary, Tracey Temple.
In May, Blair relieved Prescott of his departmental responsibilities, which
included land-use planning.