Prescott: I'm the man to sort out Labour's finances

Andy McSmith
Monday 24 May 2010 00:00

They say that old soldiers never die, they just fade away – but the former deputy prime minister John Prescott is not even prepared to do that. He will be 72 next birthday, in 10 days' time, and is expected to be awarded a life peerage in Gordon Brown's resignation honours list.

And yesterday morning, "Prezza" formally launched his campaign to take one of the few jobs in politics that he has not already held: treasurer of the Labour Party.

This is not a sinecure. There is no salary, but plenty of work to be done. The Labour Party's coffers have been drained by the cost of the general election, and it is notoriously hard for a party that has just lost an election to attract donors. Without an energetic treasurer to help crank up the party machine, it is in danger of slipping back into a state of near total dependency on trade union backing.

Mr Prescott has promised that, in addition to the lifetime's experience he will bring to the job, he will throw himself into it with the necessary energy. As evidence that he still has it in him, he can point to the way he spent almost the entire four weeks of the general election on the campaign trail.

"During the general election I travelled 5,000 miles on my Prescott Express battle bus," Mr Prescott wrote in his official blog yesterday. "It became very clear to me during my journey that we have an enormous job to do in rebuilding our party."

The post of treasurer will become vacant at Labour's annual conference in September, as the previous holder, Jack Dromey, husband of Labour's current leader, Harriet Harman, is standing down after being elected MP for Birmingham Erdington.

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