June 24, 2019 / 10:45 AM / a month ago

Labour politician Prescott taken to hospital after a stroke

FILE PHOTO: Former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott speaks in support of Jeremy Corbyn, leader of Britain's opposition Labour Party, at a campaign event in Scarborough, May 22, 2017. REUTERS/Darren Staples

LONDON (Reuters) - John Prescott, a former British deputy prime minister in Tony Blair’s Labour government, has been taken to hospital after suffering a stroke, his family said on Monday.

Prescott, 81, was taken to hospital on Friday.

“He is receiving excellent care,” the family said.

He served as deputy prime minister from 1997 to 2007.

Prescott was one of Blair’s most colourful ministers and was known as a plain-speaking politician who bridged the divide between the traditional left-wing and the modernisers in the Labour Party.

He made headlines during the 2001 election campaign when he punched an egg-throwing demonstrator.

For years he was known by the nickname “Two Jags” because he owned two luxury Jaguar cars and in 1999 and was once criticised by environmentalists for using a ministerial car to travel 250 metres to a party meeting.

The Welsh-born son of a railway signalman, Prescott acted as an intermediary to ease tensions between Blair and his finance minister Gordon Brown. Prescott also helped lead the successful negotiations to agree the Kyoto Protocol in 1997 to reduce greenhouse gases emitted by developed countries.

“My thoughts are with John, Pauline and all the family. Hoping very much that he gets better soon,” Blair said in a message to the Prescott family.

Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge and Andrew MacAskill; editing by Kate Holton

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