Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott is no stranger to controversy.
In 2001, he sealed his reputation as a man with a short fuse when he landed a punch on the face of an egg-throwing countryside protester during the General Election campaign. But before the brawl, captured on live television, he was already known as a down-to-earth, no-nonsense politician and made as many enemies as he did friends.
John Leslie Prescott was born on May 31, 1938, in Prestatyn, North Wales, the son of a white-collar railway worker and local councillor.
Educated at Grange Secondary Modern School, Ellesmere Port, he attended Ruskin College before acquiring a degree at Hull University.
In 1970 he entered Parliament as MP for Hull East, which he still represents.
He became a front-bench employment spokesman in the mid-1980s and became shadow Transport Secretary after the 1987 election.
In a further shadow Cabinet reshuffle, Prescott was awarded the employment portfolio and in the summer of 2001 he was appointed to the new role of Deputy Prime Minister.
Among his controversies was a war of words over the breakdown of international climate change talks in November 2000, when he was branded a chauvinist.
French environment minister Dominique Voynet angrily accused Mr Prescott of behaving like an "inveterate macho man" after he blamed her for the collapse of the marathon negotiations in The Hague.
The former steward in the merchant navy had an inborn hatred of spin-doctors and image-makers who, under Peter Mandelson, virtually took control of the Labour Party in the two-year run up to the 1997 General Election.
Prescott found it impossible to disguise his dislike for Mr Mandelson. Once, in 1997, in an astonishing episode before TV cameras, he likened Mandelson to a crab.
Married to Pauline, and with two sons, he earned the nickname "Two Jags" for his love of large cars.
In April 2005, Greenpeace protesters climbed on the roof of his house in Hull while Mrs Prescott was inside with a secretary.
They said their bid to install solar panels on the roof was a protest aimed at Mr Prescott because of his responsibility for housing policy, and was intended to highlight the amount of energy wasted by domestic housing in Britain.
Hanging below the ramparts, they displayed two large fluorescent banners saying "Oi, 2 jags! Hit targets not voters" above the Greenpeace logo.