Politics: Ex-councillors 'out to get Prescott'

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The Independent Online
EX-LABOUR councillors motivated by "personal disappointment" were last night blamed by party officials for the "vendetta" against John Prescott, undermining the Deputy Prime Minister in his Hull constituency.

Mr Prescott was given the backing of local party officials, after going public about a campaign which has subjected him and his family to months of anguish.

Mr Prescott had not named those he believed were involved in a "shadowy campaign" against him. But Andrew Sharp, regional secretary of the party in North Yorkshire, which covers Hull, said: "I must make it clear that many of the allegations that have been made by councillors and former councillors seem to be based on little more than personal disappointment at not being selected as a candidate in council elections."

He said the police were investigating other reports which included break- ins, malicious telephone calls, and evidence that two journalists had been raking through Mr Prescott's refuse bins at his home in Hull for information.

Mr Sharp rejected allegations by one of the three deselected Hull Labour councillors, Terry Garaghty, that claims of corruption had not been investigated properly by the party. Mr Geraghty said: "It's just a smokescreen to cover up what has been happening in the city. I don't think there's a vendetta. I've never heard of a vendetta.

"Quite honestly, when politicians stoop to this sort of accusation they are either trying to cover up or they're not living in the real world."

Mr Geraghty was one of the three Labour councillors who were suspended by the party last year and had appeals rejected. They have been barred from standing for the party for the May elections.

The Independent disclosed on Monday that Mr Prescott believed he was the target for a smear campaign, which included a raid on his refuse bins at his family house in Hull

Mr Prescott yesterday said his family was paying "an unacceptable price" for the vendetta being waged against him.