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Lord Prescott admitted to hospital after suffering stroke

File photo dated 22/05/17 of former deputy prime minister Lord Prescott who has been admitted to hospital after suffering a stroke, his family has said in a statement. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday June 24, 2019. See PA story HEALTH Prescott. Photo credit should read: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

By Gavin Cordon, Press Association Whitehall Editor

Former deputy prime minister Lord Prescott has been admitted to hospital after suffering a stroke.

The 81-year-old was taken to hospital in Hull on Friday, his family said in a statement.

"We would like to praise the swift actions of the ambulance staff and the doctors and nurses at Hull Royal Infirmary's A&E and stroke unit," the statement said.

"They have been remarkable and we cannot thank them enough.

"He is receiving excellent care from the NHS but we would respectfully request at this time that John and our family are given the privacy we need so that he can have the time and space to make a full recovery."

A former trade union activist, John Prescott served 10 years as Tony Blair's deputy prime minister following Labour's 1997 general election landslide.

During much of that time, he acted as a conciliator in the often turbulent relationship between Mr Blair and chancellor Gordon Brown.

While a loyal supporter of Mr Blair in office, in more recent years Lord Prescott has been critical of elements of New Labour's legacy, denouncing Britain's involvement in the Iraq War.

He has strongly defended Jeremy Corbyn in the face of fierce criticism by other figures from the New Labour era.

Shortly before he stood down as deputy prime minister in 2007, Lord Prescott spent eight days in hospital being treated for pneumonia after falling ill on a train to London from his constituency in Hull.

In 2002, it was disclosed that he was suffering from Type 2 diabetes, although it was said he was able to live a "perfectly normal life" due to medication.

In a statement, Mr Blair said his thoughts were with Lord Prescott, his wife Pauline and all their family.

"Hoping very much that he gets better soon," he added.

Mr Corbyn said: "My thoughts are with my good friend John and his family and friends at this difficult time.

"I hope he makes a full and speedy recovery and, on behalf of the Labour Party, I would like to thank our hard-working NHS staff at Hull Royal Infirmary."

Pic by Chris Radburn/PA Wire