Prescott takes his seat in the upper House

LABOUR’S last remaining class warrior yesterday took his seat in the House of Lords with the title Baron Prescott of Kingston-upon-Hull.

The choice of title reflects the former deputy prime minister’s desire to continue to be an ambassador for the city where he has lived for more than 40 years and represented in Parliament since 1970.

Writing on social networking site Twitter yesterday, the 72-year-old said he had no qualms at becoming a member of the House of Lords, an institution for which he has little time.

“It means I can still keep holding this Government to account in Parliament and have a platform to campaign for the issues I believe in.

“And as the last week has shown with hiking up VAT, axing child tax credits and scrapping schools, there’s a lot to hold this Government to account for.’’

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Having stood down from the House of Commons at the General Election in May, he plans to continue campaigning on issues like the environment, social justice and jobs.

He has maintained the high profile on the internet he developed after standing down as deputy prime minister in 2007, remaining one of Labour’s most prominent bloggers and an active and pugnacious voice on Twitter.

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As unpaid director of rugby league club Hull Kingston Rovers, he is involved in a health and sports project in his former Hull East constituency.

And as one of the negotiators of the Kyoto protocol and Council of Europe rapporteur at last year’s Copenhagen climate change conference, he intends to keep up the battle for a global warming deal in the run-up to November’s summit in Cancun, Mexico.

<Van Orden supports>

<diamond workers>

THE abuse of workers in the diamond fields of Zimbabwe and the failure of international bodies to take action has been raised in the European Parliament by East of England Tory MEP Geoffrey van Orden.

He is demanding the release of those imprisoned for revealing appalling mistreatment in the Zimbabwean diamond industry and wants action to be taken through the international Kimberley Process, to which Zimbabwe belongs and which regulates the trade in rough diamonds.

“Zimbabwe must fully comply with its Kimberley Process commitments before it should be allowed to export from the Chiadzwa diamond fields,” said Mr van Orden.

“The police have been attacking mine workers and those who dare to speak out are thrown in jail.

“In spite of the political accord reached in Zimbabwe last year, the people are treated with contempt and natural resources such as diamonds are seen as an opportunity for further personal enrichment by the Mugabe clique that hangs on to power.”

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