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Prescott: Miliband needs more grit

Former deputy prime minister John Prescott has told Labour leader Ed Miliband that he needs to show more "grit", he revealed.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs, Lord Prescott backed Mr Miliband as the next Labour prime minister and said he was "beginning" to show the necessary leadership, but revealed he raised concerns about his "blank sheet of paper" policy review.

In a deeply personal interview, the Labour peer told how his childhood experience of his parents' messy divorce prepared him to act as middleman in the tempestuous relationship between Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

And he confessed his own failings as a father and a husband, admitting that his English reserve left him unable to hug his own adult sons.

Admitting his guilt for the affair which rocked his marriage to Pauline, he said it was only after the scandal broke in 2006 that he realised how he had "underestimated" his wife in a marriage in which "I was always more on the take than the giving".

He made some amends by choosing his "remarkable" wife's memoir Smile Though Your Heart Is Breaking as the book he would take to the programme's legendary desert island.

Asked by interviewer Kirsty Young who he believed would be the next Labour prime minister, Lord Prescott paused before replying: "Ed... Ed Miliband."

He revealed the new leader came to him for advice after saying he was moving on from the New Labour era with a policy review which would start with a blank sheet of paper.

Lord Prescott replied: "Let me give you two bits of advice: Put your bloody jacket back on, because leaders shouldn't be walking around with no jacket, in my view.

"And secondly, throw away that bit of paper where you say 'give me your thoughts and ideas'. Leaders are expected to have them. You have got to show your own grit." He added: "He is beginning to show it now."


From Belfast Telegraph