John Prescott gets Labour's vote for police commissioner job
HULL'S best-known politician John Prescott has secured Labour's vote in his bid to become Humberside's police and crime commissioner.
Lord Prescott beat rival Keith Hunter, the former senior officer with Humberside Police, to be Labour's candidate for the high-profile job.
Now, the peer, MP for Hull East for 40 years before stepping down at the last General Election, is to return to frontline politics by stepping up his campaign to secure the £75,000-a-year post.
He will stand against East Riding councillor Matthew Grove, the only Conservative to throw his hat in the ring so far, in the election in November.
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Last night, in an exclusive interview with the Mail, Lord Prescott said: "I have won and I'm delighted to do so.
"I want to be the champion of the people and their voice on policing matters.
"I am looking forward to the campaign and getting my message across."
Lord Prescott, Deputy Prime Minister during Tony Blair's time at Downing Street, was selected by his party after both he and Mr Hunter were interviewed by the Labour's National Executive Committee.
They also went head-to-head at hustings, with Labour Party members given the chance to put questions to both candidates before casting their votes.
The peer now plans to tour East Yorkshire on his "Prescott Express", speaking to voters in Hull and the East Riding as part of his campaign to persuade people he is the right man for the job.
He said: "I will be going around every town, every village and the city, through urban and rural areas, to speak to people young and old to deliver the people's voice on crime and policing.
"I never assumed to know exactly what people want and my job now is to go out to the north and south banks, to the east and the west, to take to people about what they want and to share my ideas."
Mr Hunter, a former divisional commander of police in Hull, is understood to have been informed of the results of the vote.
Ahead of the result, Mr Hunter told the Mail: "I have had a fantastic response considering I started from scratch and have been up against someone who has been doing this for 50 years.
"There is no getting away from the fact we come from very different backgrounds."
At the weekend, as the votes were being counted, Mr Hunter posted a message on social media site Twitter saying: "Win or lose, it's not something I will ever regret doing.
"Once the result is announced, it's time for all to support the chosen candidate to win in November."
All 2,200 Labour Party members were sent a ballot paper asking them to vote for their preferred candidate and their papers had to be returned by Friday.
Mr Hunter, who resigned from his job as heading the police in Hull to enter the race, built his campaign around his experience as an officer.
He insisted he was ideally placed to deliver "real change" and "reconnect people to the criminal justice system".
But, in the end, Labour voters turned once more to John Prescott, putting their faith in the Labour Party stalwart who held his seat in Hull from 1970 until he stepped down in 2010.
A former ship's steward and trade union activist, Lord Prescott played a key role in British politics, seen as the Labour Party's "fixer" in the tense relationship between Mr Blair and the then-Chancellor Gordon Brown.
Shortly after retiring as an MP, Lord Prescott entered the House of Lords with the title Baron Prescott of Kingston upon Hull in the County of East Yorkshire. Despite his departure from the House of Commons, Lord Prescott has never been far from the headlines, championing the fight against phone hacking by journalists working for Rupert Murdoch's stable of national newspapers at News International.
He appeared at the Leveson Inquiry in February after receiving a £40,000 settlement over phone hacking and criticised the handling of the investigation by the Met.
His popularity has soared in recent times due to his humorous quips and political attacks on Twitter, building up an army of almost 140,000 followers.
The role of police and crime commissioner will replace Humberside Police Authority when it is abolished later this year.
People living in the four local authority areas covered by Humberside Police – Hull, the East Riding, North-East Lincolnshire and North Lincolnshire, will go to the polls on November 15, with the commissioner expected to take office a week later.