Prescott to be kicked out of London flat by rail union

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Indy Politics

John Prescott is being kicked out of a London flat by union leaders furious at his failure to support renationalisation of the rail industry.

John Prescott is being kicked out of a London flat by union leaders furious at his failure to support renationalisation of the rail industry.

The Deputy Prime Minister has been told to quit the building in a fortnight's time by the RMT rail union, which is also deeply concerned at his attempt to impose a pay settlement on firefighters.

Mr Prescott, whose Hull constituency has been sponsored by the RMT, pays what the union regards as a peppercorn rent for its two- bedroom flat. Officials have been advised that the union could earn £1,600 a month from the apartment, compared with the £220 Mr Prescott pays.

He has rejected an offer by the union to rehouse him, a gesture forced on the RMT by law but also a suggestion calculated to embarrass him.

Mr Prescott, known as "Two Jags" by the tabloid press, has the use of a grace-and-favour apartment at Admiralty House, and Dorneywood Estate in Buckinghamshire as well as his own turreted residence in Hull. Sometimes Mr Prescott has been referred to as "Four Pads" by his tormentors in right-wing newspapers.

Leaders of the RMT, which has 60,000 members, have decided to knock down the Clapham apartment in south-west London and build a three-storey block, which will include low-rent accommodation. Mr Prescott is a prominent supporter of social housing.

The Deputy Prime Minister has so incensed his erstwhile comrades in the RMT that one source said the union's officials were thinking of running a raffle to see who would drive the bulldozer to demolish the building.

Mr Prescott's offer to buy the apartment for £230,000 was rejected by the union. He has occupied the flat for more than 30 years, since he became an MP. He once shared the accommodation with the left-wing MP Dennis Skinner, who now regards the Deputy Prime Minister with deep political suspicion.

A spokesman for the Deputy Prime Minister said the order to quit the flat was a matter for Mr Prescott and the union.

One RMT source said: "Prescott has lived in a cheap union flat for years, but has done next to nothing for the union."

Talks between the Fire Brigades Union and employers went ahead yesterday after the second reading of a Bill, sponsored by Mr Prescott, which would enforce a pay deal on the FBU.

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