John Prescott: Why I can't hug my two sons
LORD Prescott has revealed he regrets not spending more time with his children as they grew up due to the demands of public office.
In an appearance on Radio 4's Desert Island Discs, the former Hull East MP and deputy prime minister spoke about his role as a father.
The Labour peer and prospective Humberside police and crime commissioner candidate said his English reserve left him unable to hug his adult sons.
"I was a bit detached as a father – not indifferent, but kind of detached," he said.
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"That comes from a background, a culture.
"I've got two brilliant sons and I love them to death, but to my great regret I cannot somehow put my arms around my sons.
"I don't know where it comes from, but I very much regret that I never had that.
"I think that's part of British culture and that was reflected a bit in me and I'm sad about that."
He said he "couldn't quite understand" when he saw Tony Blair and Gordon Brown on their hands and knees playing with their children, but this changed with the arrival of his granddaughter Ava Grace in 2009.
"Then I was on my hands and knees chasing her around," he said. "She is a great pleasure to us and I realised the kind of feelings that grandparents can have and the relationship with the grandchild that does develop."
In the interview, Lord Prescott also admitted his guilt over his affair with secretary Tracey Temple and said he realised he had not been treating his wife Pauline as she deserved.
"I made the terrible mistake of underestimating her intelligence and ability and interest in things," he said.
"I would shout a lot and it was wrong. She is a remarkable woman and I underestimated that and it became a marriage where one was always dominant. It was give and take and I was always more on the take than the giving."