'Mild reprimand' for Prescott

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Indy Politics

John Prescott is expected to receive mild criticism but survive the report by the parliamentary commissioner for standards on his failure to declare hospitality at the Colorado ranch of Philip Anschutz.

The Commons Select Committee on Standards and Privileges, chaired by the former Tory cabinet minister Sir George Young, will meet today after being handed a report into the affair by Sir Philip Mawer.

It was rumoured at Westminster last night that the Deputy Prime Minister would receive a mild rebuke but having declared the visit, no action was expected to be taken. One MP said the report was a "damp squib".

Some senior ministers believe even mild criticism of the Deputy Prime Minister should raise questions about his future. But Tony Blair is standing by Mr Prescott, despite the fears of some cabinet colleagues of damage to the Government. A Blairite minister said: "Nothing Tony has said would suggest he wants Prescott to go."

Mr Prescott told Sir Philip he was advised by his permanent secretary that he did not have to register the visit because it was an official trip. He registered it when it became public.

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