Ten women Labour MPs yesterday came out in favour of Mr Prescott as deputy, urging female party members and supporters to back him rather than Margaret Beckett. Seven, including Marjorie Mowlam, the party's national heritage spokeswoman, support Tony Blair for the leadership.
Meanwhile, David Blunkett, the party chairman, appealed to the 4 million trade union political levy payers entitled to vote in the contests to take the extra step of joining the party for pounds 3 a year.
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