Prescott: `Too many toffs' in Britain `Too many toffs' in UK says Prescott

JOHN PRESCOTT re-entered controversy over class yesterday when he suggested that Britain had too many "upper toffs".

The Deputy Prime Minister also said he was proud to be working class and denied dismissing his origins.

His comments. came as he fielded questions during an hour-long stint on BBC Radio 2's Jimmy Young show. Asked if there were too many "upper middle- class toffs" in government Mr Prescott said: "There's too many upper toffs around generally, and I see them particularly in the Tory party."

Referring to his recent remarks about being middle class, he said: "I'm proud of being working class. I never ever thought I'd deny that and I don't. I was just indicating that we have all the kind of lifestyle that's more middle class than working class.

"But don't make no mistake about it, I'm proud of being working class, I'm not changing my attitude or culturing my voice or even getting my grammar correct."

Mr Prescott, a former ship's steward, also stuck up for his roots when he backed the idea of a statue of a merchant seaman taking up the bare plinth in Trafalgar Square.

"You have got admirals, why can't you have a merchant seaman? We are an island nation, we depend on them and sometimes we forget it and it would be nice to record their contribution to British greatness."

Mr Prescott said he had enjoyed standing in for Tony Blair while the Prime Minister was on holiday - but he would not want the top job permanently.

"I enjoy what I'm doing at the moment and I'm getting to the age where these kinds of ambitions are not in my mind."

He added: "I'm delighted to do this job, I'm proud to work with a guy like Tony Blair."

The Tories accused Mr Prescott of being "embedded in the old politics of class envy".

Shadow cabinet office minister Andrew Lansley said: "It is ironic that John Prescott should make these comments given that Labour is the party with the leader who went to the most expensive and exclusive private school in Scotland whereas William Hague went to a comprehensive school in a mining village in South Yorkshire.

"Was it not John Prescott who was accused by his own father of being `too middle-class' only a matter of weeks ago? It further shows how much John Prescott's politics are embedded in the old politics of class envy.

"When will John Prescott realise what the duties of Deputy Prime Minister are and stop making silly statements every time he appears in public."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Key Account Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A really exciting opportunity has arisen for a...

Recruitment Genius: Multi Trade Operative

£22000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An established, family owned de...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Services Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An exciting position has risen for a Customer ...

Recruitment Genius: Tour Drivers - UK & European

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity to join a is a...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project