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Labour agrees: Bush is crap
Independent
August 18, 2006

Ian Davidson Glasgow South West MP

"I think that John Prescott is to be commended for the quality of his political analysis. His comment on American policy is brief and accurate. Britain has got to ensure that it is no longer seen as simply being the glove puppet of the United States."

Glenda Jackson Hampstead and Highgate MP

"I entirely endorse his view. This is why Parliament should be recalled. This government is failing miserably as far as our approach towards the Middle East is concerned. We are simply... bag carriers for Bush and all his policies have been a disaster."

David Crausby Bolton North East MP

"One of the most disappointing aspects of the Iraq resolution is that we stuck our neck out and supported the Americans... on the understanding that the road map would be there but it's not been delivered at all. It's virtually been forgotten."

Ann Cryer Keighley MP

"I have no doubt that there is a very large number of Labour MPs who will be agreeing with what John Prescott is alleged to have said. I agree with it. There is huge concern and this goes right across the Labour back bench."

Jim Sheridan Paisley and Renfrewshire North MP

"I think he is right. I don't think the Americans have given the road map the priority it deserves and until you solve the problem of Palestine, other problems are going to appear. Every time Palestine comes up the agenda it gets... put on the back-burner."

Peter Kilfoyle Liverpool Walton MP

"What he is reported to have said reflects the views of many people in the Labour Party. It may not go down well in international diplomacy... but in the Labour Party it will be welcomed as a rare flash of honesty from a senior member of the Government."

Ken Livingstone Mayor of London

"I have no idea what John Prescott did or did not say since it was a private conversation, but... the current US administration has been a disaster for the American people and has done untold damage not only to international relations but to the environment."

Jon Trickett Hemsworth MP

"The actions and language of the British Government are actively hindering the prospects for peace in the Middle East; simultaneously enhancing the threat from terrorism... Our historic influence with Arab countries has been squandered."

John Austin Erith and Thamesmead MP

"If John Prescott did say it, then it touches a chord with many of us... American foreign policy is a major contributor to the crisis in the Middle East... and its failure to ensure adherence to UN resolutions regarding Palestine, and its failure to progress the road map."

Martin Salter Reading West MP

"It is abundantly clear that the Bush administration has been less than enthusiastic in pursuing the Middle East road map, and indeed many of its policies have actually inflamed the situation rather than sought to resolve this long-standing conflict."
Labour MPs come out in support of Prescott's US view
By Colin Brown and Andy McSmith

John Prescott was riding a wave of support from Labour MPs last night after privately attacking the Bush administration for being "crap" on the Middle East peace process.

The Deputy Prime Minister was also buoyed by public support for his outspoken remarks about the US President, George Bush, after they were revealed in yesterday's Independent.

Mr Prescott's use of the word "crap" reached the White House yesterday. The President's press secretary, Tony Snow, made light of the remark, saying that Mr Bush had "been called a lot worse and, I suspect, will be".

However, the Deputy Prime Minister was under growing pressure from disgruntled Labour MPs to go public with his private concerns about the Prime Minister's close support for the Bush administration in its role in the Middle East.

Calls for Parliament to be recalled to debate the Middle East crisis were also stepped up by some of those who had written to Mr Prescott last week to demand an emergency debate but had been rebuffed by him. Ann Cryer, of the Parliamentary Committee, the Labour "shop stewards" who meet Mr Blair weekly, said: "I have no doubt there is a very large number of Labour MPs who will be agreeing with what John Prescott is alleged to have said. I agree with it. There is huge concern right across the Labour back bench."

Also backing Mr Prescott, Jim Sheridan, who resigned as a parliamentary aide to defence ministers in protest over the Middle East crisis, said: "I don't think the Americans have given the road map the priority that it deserves and until you solve the problem of Palestine, other problems are going to appear."

Harry Cohen, the Labour backbencher who revealed the conversation with MPs, stood by his comments, but said Mr Prescott should now go public with his doubts about US policy. "He said Bush had been crap on the Middle East road map and he was right to say so. I think it would be very helpful if he would say this publicly now, because it is time these issues were aired," Mr Cohen said. "I think he will get a standing ovation at the Labour Party conference now."

Mr Prescott issued a carefully worded denial through his private office, saying: "This is an inaccurate report of a private conversation and it is not my view."

However, he was seen by parliamentary researchers in good spirits having lunch on the terrace of the Commons. A political blogger claimed last night that one witness overheard him telling allies: "All these people saying, 'Prescott should be sacked' is rubbish - 80 per cent of them agree with me" - a reference to a YouGov poll yesterday which found that most people wanted Tony Blair to distance himself from President Bush.

Supporting Mr Prescott's remarks, John Trickett, the Labour MP leading the campaign for the recall of Parliament, said: "There appears to be a national feeling that the actions and language of the British Government are actively hindering the prospects for peace in the Middle East; simultaneously enhancing the threat from terrorism that the UK clearly faces."

The Prime Minister is planning to go to the Middle East when he returns from his holiday to try to revive the road map, but Labour MPs were holding out little hope of success last night. Many want him to follow the lead given by Mr Prescott and distance himself from the Bush administration.

MPs fear Mr Blair strongly believes in Bush's analysis of an "axis of evil" that must be confronted. Last night, MPs were saying that Mr Blair had used remarkably similar language, in warning of an "arc of extremism". There are fears that Mr Blair will be encouraged by the White House to back action against Iran, which he claims has sponsored terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan and has armed Hizbollahin Lebanon.

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