JOHN PRESCOTT has moved to save his flagging political career by giving up the use of Dorneywood, the grace-and- favour country residence that he insisted on keeping despite losing his department in last month's reshuffle.
The Deputy Prime Minister bowed to public and political fury over his retention of his lavish perks and said farewell to the Buckinghamshire estate where he was photographed last week, to his intense embarrassment, playing croquet.
After receiving strong advice from his closest friends that he needed to make a gesture to the public and the Labour Party, Mr Prescott telephoned Tony Blair yesterday morning and told him that he would do what Mr Blair asked him to do when he carried out his reshuffle - give up Dorneywood.
You can hit the public, grope your staff, waste billions of pounds, be totally incompetent and you will be forgiven, but the first whiff of being a toff by playing a game of croquet and that is unforgivable. There is no snobbery like working class snobbery!
I predict that no one else takes over Dorneywood until Prescott has left the cabinet, like Blunkett he will just take a long time to move out...