TheWorldTonight: Labour MPs Say Prescott Must Go; POLITICS: Ministers Want Deputy Prime Minister Stripped of Cabinet Post

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Byline: By Andrew Woodcock

QUESTION marks are hanging over the future of Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott today as he returns to his desk following the Bank Holiday weekend.

Mr Prescott is in charge of running the country this week in the absence of Tony Blair, who is enjoying a break in Italy.

But Labour MPs have been openly demanding his removal as Blair's deputy, in the wake of weeks of damaging headlines following the revelation of his affair with a secretary in his former department.

Backbenchers, discontented that Mr Prescott had been allowed to keep his Cabinet seat, his pounds 133,000 ministerial salary and two state-funded homes, broke cover after the publication of pictures showing him playing croquet on the lawn of his country retreat Dorneywood.

Calder Valley MP Christine McCafferty said Mr Prescott should resign in order to allow Labour to "re-engage" with women voters furious that he had apparently been "rewarded" after admitting the affair.

And normally-loyal Derek Wyatt, MP for Sittingbourne and Sheppey, said Mr Prescott's position was "untenable". …