Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott was accompanied by his mistress to a solemn memorial service in honour of the Iraq war dead, it emerged last night.

Tracey Temple, aged 43, with whom Mr Prescott has admitted having a two-year affair, was pictured dressed in black leaving St Paul's Cathedral in October 2003 as Mr Prescott walked behind Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife Cherie.

Other photographs show Ms Temple, Mr Prescott's diary manager, accompanying his wife Pauline at Westminster.

Downing Street yesterday insisted Tony Blair fully supported Mr Prescott and said the Deputy Prime Minister had not offered his resignation after the revelations in the Daily Mirror.

Mr Prescott, 67, admitted to the newspaper his two-year affair with Ms Temple, which began at an office Christmas party in 2002 and said his wife Pauline was "devastated" by the news of his infidelity.

He was said by colleagues to be in Hull at the family home yesterday, where one of his two sons arrived without comment to waiting reporters.

A fellow Minister said of him: "John will be feeling he has let the side down, let the Labour Party down."

Questions were also raised about reports that Ms Temple had been photographed in front of the battle bus used by Mr Prescott during Labour's General Election campaign last year.

A spokeswoman for the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister would say only: "We can categorically say she was not on that battle bus during that election period."

Civil servants are banned from taking part in any political activity during election time.

The ODPM's department would make no comment on when Mr Prescott would be back at his desk. He would normally attend Cabinet at No 10 today.

Mr Prescott was reported to have used his Government flat in Admiralty House to pursue his affair and was said by the Daily Mirror to have used the ruse of asking his office to send Ms Temple there with papers he claimed to have forgotten to take home from work.

The Deputy Prime Minister told the newspaper: "I did have a relationship with her which ended some time ago. I have discussed this fully with my wife Pauline who is devastated by the news.

"I would be grateful if Pauline and I can now get on with our lives together."

Father-of-two Mr Prescott, who has been married for more than 44 years, began working with Ms Temple when she was appointed as his assistant private secretary, with special responsibility for organising his diary.

She had previously worked as diary secretary for former Northern Ireland Secretary Mo Mowlam and was said to be close friends with the Labour MP, who died last year.

The divorcee lives in Bordon, Hampshire, with lorry driver Barrie Williams, 46.

Mr Williams said: "I feel sick. I can't believe the woman I wanted to marry has slept with John Prescott. I've been betrayed by one of the most powerful men in the UK."

The Mirror reported that civil service colleagues were shocked by the way that Mr Prescott flirted with Ms Temple at work. They were said to have started the affair at the office Christmas party in 2002 when they danced together most of the night.

A colleague said she had later seen the diary secretary "nuzzle" Mr Prescott's neck in the lift. She said she thought it was "inappropriate".

Mr Prescott was reported to have laughed off the incident as a "bit of messing about" but three days later was said to be "livid" when office gossip claimed they were having an affair.

However, the newspaper said they then embarked on a full-blown relationship with Ms Temple making regular visits to his official flat in Admiralty Arch.

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