Labour almost bankrupt says Prescott

Lord Prescott warned the Labour Party was almost bankrupt and must get a grip of its finances.

The former deputy prime minister, who wants to be treasurer, said the party had forgotten how to organise and called for limits on party political spending.



Membership had also fallen dramatically and the party was about £20 million in debt, he added.



"The treasurer has got to say to the central body, in this case Number 10, you cannot keep on spending, we damn well haven't got it.



"We want a strong treasurer who's involved in the membership drive, putting a proper financial account into the party, and is an active political person in making that accountable to the constituencies.



"You can go on if you like and just have somebody doing what's always been the way. Well, we cannot continue to finance a political party in that way.



"We have to do what I said when I was elected as deputy leader. The politics of organisation are equally as important as the politics of ideas. We forgot about the organisation bit."



Lord Prescott spoke out yesterday in a public appearance at the Scottish Parliament's annual Festival of Politics.



The appearance, with Holyrood's Presiding Officer, Alex Fergusson, focused on his career and took in questions from the public in the main chamber.



The former Hull East MP discussed his role on climate change in the Council of Europe and ruled out taking his experience to the Tory-Liberal Democrat UK Government.



In a swipe at "collaborators" from Labour joining the coalition administration, he said: "I'm a politician and I have a parliamentary framework by which I can tell the Government what they should or they shouldn't do. They can take notice or not, and I can hold them to account.



"You don't have to join a commission to tell them what to do. We're politicians - tell them in the arena, that's what I do."



He defended his move to the House of Lords, saying this gave him the opportunity to continue political campaigning.



And he predicted tensions from the public spending cuts will drive forward debate on handing devolution to regions of England, particularly the north.



He praised the Scottish and Welsh models, which he said should be strengthened.



The peer added: "When you start cutting back like this, the whole business of regional politics, which you have shown in Scotland, you can exercise power in the centre by a Scottish Parliament.



"The English regions with equally the same size of population should begin to use the same muscle."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Junior Technical Writer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join an int...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Manager - OTE £50,000

£30000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Manager is required to ...

Recruitment Genius: IT Support Engineer

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great company to work...

Day In a Page

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Attwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works
Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
10 best waterproof mascaras

Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
Ashes 2015: England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
Women's Open 2015: Charley Hull - 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

Charley Hull: 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

British teen keeps her feet on ground ahead of Women's Open
Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'