Prescott’s punch, Brown’s blunder and Mandelson’s mishap: Unforgettable campaign moments…

In an election campaign that has seen one Conservative member climb onto bins and jump over a fence to escape humiliation at a climate change hustings in East Sussex, MM took a look back at some other unforgettable moments from politicians as the nation heads to the polls today…

The Prescott Punch

John Prescott served as Deputy Prime Minister in the Labour government for 10 years. But it was an instinctive left jab to a protester’s face that he will be most remembered for.
Before the 2001 general election, Prescott was campaigning in Rhyl in North East Wales when he encountered pro-fox hunting protesters. One threw an egg at the politician, who immediately reacted by striking him in the jaw, causing a scuffle in front of the TV cameras.
Some feared that on the day of the Labour manifesto launch, the campaign could be derailed by a moment of madness by Prescott. But rather than hinder the deputy prime minister, Prescott became more popular with some male voters who respected him for his actions.
Labour went on to win the 2001 general election with a huge 167 seat majority.
Gordon Brown’s ‘disaster’
On April 28 2010, Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s election campaign took a mortifying turn. In a live TV interview in Rochdale, Brown was challenged on Labour’s future plans on immigration by party supporter Gillian Duffy.
Little did Duffy know she would be the centre of national headlines just minutes later when Brown returned to his car. Unaware that the nation would still be able to hear him, Brown described the TV appearance as a ‘disaster’ and referred to Duffy as a ‘bigoted women’ after forgetting to take off his broadcast microphone.
He soon apologised to Duffy, a pensioner, for his words but the damage had already been done and Brown had evidenced a stark difference between his public and private face.
Just two weeks later, Brown had resigned as leader of the Labour Party following the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats forming a coalition government.
Mandelson’s Slime-gate
In March 2009, then Business Secretary Lord Mandelson was given a serious shock as he arrived for a meeting in London promoting green industries.
Mandelson was approaching a fairly unassuming young woman, but was then forced to take cover as he was splashed with green liquid. It had transpired that Leila Deen, 29, a protestor strongly against airport expansion, had taken matters into her own hands and poured green custard over Mandelson.
Justifying her actions, Deen said that it was ‘a light-hearted way of making a very serious point’ about the government’s policies on climate change.
Fortunately for Deen, no complaint was made about the incident and no action was taken against her.

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