Prescott denies dismissing Bush as 'crap'

John Prescott dimisses claims he called George Bush crap in a private meeting
John Prescott dimisses claims he called George Bush crap in a private meeting

The deputy prime minister has denied reports that he described US president George Bush as "crap" during a private meeting with MPs earlier this week.

John Prescott said the reported account of his discussions on Tuesday with Muslim MPs were "inaccurate" and stressed that was not his view.

However, Labour MP Harry Cohen insisted that Mr Prescott had indeed used the word "crap" about the Bush administration.

"He was talking in the context of the road map in the Middle East," the MP for Leyton and Wanstead told The Independent.

"He said he only gave support to the war on Iraq because [the US] were promised the road map. But he said the Bush administration had been crap on that. We all laughed and he said to an official, 'Don't minute that'."

Mr Cohen added: "We also had a laugh when he said old Bush is just a cowboy with his Stetson on. But then he said, 'I can hardly talk about that can I?"

Other MPs at the meeting said they could not remember the words, but the MP insisted: "He did. I stand by that."

If true, Mr Prescott's comments would please many Labour backbenchers who have protested against Tony Blair's overly close relationship with Washington, in particular his failure to break ranks with Mr Bush in refusing to criticise Israel's attacks on Lebanon.

But the deputy prime minister issued a statement last night, saying: "This is an inaccurate report of a private conversation and it is not my view."

Meanwhile, David Cameron yesterday stressed that he "broadly" supported the government's foreign policy, despite his assertion that Israel should have acted against militant group Hizbullah in a more proportionate manner.

"I don't think that it would have been right to call immediately for an unconditional ceasefire because it would have failed completely to understand the causes of the conflict," the Conservative leader told Today.

And despite his criticism of the government's anti-terror strategy earlier this week, Mr Cameron said he backed its attempts to tackle global terrorism, noting: "I broadly support a lot of the government's foreign policy. I think it is right what we did in Afghanistan.

"It is right that the troops are there supporting the Afghan government, and it is right that we are in Iraq supporting the democratically-elected government of Iraq."

He added: "It was the government run by the Taliban that gave a home to al-Qaeda. By removing the Taliban and supporting a democratically elected government we are not just making Afghanistan safer but we are making Britain safer."


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