Friday 23 August 2019

British Labour politician John Prescott taken to hospital after a stroke

Former UK deputy prime minister John Prescott
Former UK deputy prime minister John Prescott

Guy Faulconbridge

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.

The 81-year-old was taken to hospital in Hull on Friday, his family said in a statement.

"We would like to praise the swift actions of the ambulance staff and the doctors and nurses at Hull Royal Infirmary's A&E and stroke unit," the statement said.

"They have been remarkable and we cannot thank them enough.

"He is receiving excellent care from the NHS but we would respectfully request at this time that John and our family are given the privacy we need so that he can have the time and space to make a full recovery."

A former trade union activist, John Prescott served 10 years as Tony Blair's deputy prime minister following Labour's 1997 general election landslide.

During much of that time, he acted as a conciliator in the often turbulent relationship between Mr Blair and chancellor Gordon Brown.

While a loyal supporter of Mr Blair in office, in more recent years Mr Prescott has been critical of elements of New Labour's legacy, denouncing Britain's involvement in the Iraq War.

He has strongly defended Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn in the face of fierce criticism by other figures from the New Labour era.

Shortly before he stood down as deputy prime minister in 2007, Mr Prescott spent eight days in hospital being treated for pneumonia after falling ill on a train to London from his constituency in Hull.

In 2002, it was disclosed that he was suffering from Type 2 diabetes, although it was said he was able to live a "perfectly normal life" due to medication.

In a statement, Mr Blair said his thoughts were with Mr Prescott, his wife Pauline and all their family.

"Hoping very much that he gets better soon," he added.

Mr Corbyn said: "My thoughts are with my good friend John and his family and friends at this difficult time.

"I hope he makes a full and speedy recovery and, on behalf of the Labour Party, I would like to thank our hard-working NHS staff at Hull Royal Infirmary."

READ MORE: Explainer: What is a stroke?


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