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PREZZA: I QUIT.

Byline: EXCLUSIVE by VINCENT MOSS POLITICAL EDITOR

JOHN Prescott has quit a highly prized position in politics in protest over delays to Press regulation.

The former Deputy PM reveals in his Sunday Mirror column today that he has resigned after 19 years as a Privy Councillor because of a Government move that he says "borders on a conspiracy to delay Press regulation".

He is furious that a Privy Council committee led by Deputy PM Nick Clegg will not consider plans for a Royal Charter to regulate the Press when it meets on Wednesday.

The proposal has been condemned by human rights organisations on the grounds that it amounts to State control of the Press - and the committee is to instead consider a plan put forward by the newspaper industry.

Mr Prescott - whose chief of staff was among the victims of the News Of The World phone hacking scandal - fears it could now be years before any form of Press regulation is introduced.

He writes: "I believe this approach borders on a conspiracy to delay Press regulation. Much worse, it will embroil the monarchy in a possible conflict with Parliament and political division between the parties."

SCANDAL The Privy Council has more than 500 members who have reached high public office. Their role is to advise the Queen in carrying out her duties as monarch.

Mr Prescott adds: "I have resigned as a Privy Councillor on this point of principle about how the charters are considered. The Privy Council must put Parliament and Parliament's Charter first." Mr Prescott says he has quit on principle. But other politicians have left in disgrace. John Profumo resigned in 1963 after his affair with Christine Keeler, the mistress of a Russian spy, erupted into a political scandal.

Former Tory Minister Jonathan Aitken resigned in 1997 before he was jailed for perjury and perverting the course of justice. And ex-Labour Minister Elliot Morley was expelled after he was convicted in 2011 of fiddling his MP's expenses.

The Privy Council includes all members of the Cabinet, past and present, Commons Speaker John Bercow, the leaders of all major political parties, Archbishops and various senior judges as well as other senior public figures.

In the past, Privy Counsellors were the chief governing body and fulfilled the role of Cabinet Ministers today.

I'VE RESIGNED AS A PRIVY COUNCILLOR ON A POINT OF PRINCIPLE : Page 14
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Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jul 7, 2013
Words:396
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