Once it was a Jag. Now Prezza travels by minibus

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Indy Politics

Campaigning has been an unpredictable business over the years for John Prescott. Back in 2001, his tour was punctuated by that unforgettable left jab delivered unerringly to the chin of Craig Evans, a local farm worker, who had landed an egg on Britain's most belligerent MP. This time round, Mr Prescott received a warmer welcome – a couple of kisses from two rather more attractive, and supportive, voters.

If his spirits had been flagging as he hit the road for the 10th time to drum up support for his party, the 71-year-old Labour stalwart seemed buoyed by the embraces of Vanessa Pattinson, 18, and Laura Naylor, 30, who met him as he campaigned in Carlisle, a constituency that could be within the reach of the Tories at the election. The former Deputy Prime Minister will be visiting 50 marginal seats in total during a 4,000-mile tour.

He will be completing the trip in somewhat less luxurious surroundings than the "battle buses" of the past: his 2010 odyssey will be completed in an 11-seat minibus. But while his vehicle may have shrunk, his hatred of the Tories is as large as ever. "We need to get every vote out to ensure Labour keeps delivering for hard-working people and stop the Tories turning the clock back to the Eighties," he told supporters.

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