Prescott wins union support

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John Prescott yesterday won the vote of the National Union of Public Employees for Labour's deputy leadership election tomorrow, opening up the possibility that Margaret Beckett may be taken to a second ballot for the post.

Mrs Beckett's camp remained hopeful of winning on the first round. Some MPs are undeclared, and it is not clear how the constituencies will split. Nupe, Labour's fourth-biggest union, worth 4.4 per cent of the electoral college, backed John Smith as leader.