Only John Prescott could make me feel sorry for Tracy Temple

Only John Prescott could make me feel sorry for Tracy Temple

JAN MOIR: Only vile Prezza could make me feel sorry for Tracy Temple

10:07 AM on 13th May 2011

Remember Tracey Temple Tracey was the luckless secretary who had a two-year affair with her boss John Prescott, before disappearing back to the forgiving anonymity of suburbia.

Nothing much is heard from Tracey these days. After the scandal died down, she chose to live her life quietly, away from cameras and speculation and tittle tattle. Yet her spectral presence continues to cling to Lord and Lady Prescott like sea mist — not that they try very hard to shake her off. For in a peculiar sort of way, Tracey has become the glue that keeps their united front intact.

In an ITV interview with Piers Morgan to be broadcast tomorrow evening, Pauline Prescott says she will never forgive her husband for having an affair with his secretary. However, she is magnanimous in other ways. Pauline claims that John’s affair was ‘just a boy thing’ and that there were ‘no deep affections there’. A sentiment with which her husband readily agrees.

Dismissive: In interviews and biographies since the affair, both Mr and Mrs Prescott have referred to Tracy Temple, above, as a sexual irrelevance

Dismissive: In interviews and biographies since the affair, both Mr and Mrs Prescott have referred to Tracy Temple, above, as a sexual irrelevance

‘It was just part of an opportunity that developed,’ he says, as if he was talking about a deal to buy a useful plot of land. A rather cheap and lame attempt, I think, to absolve himself publicly from personal responsibility.

No wonder I am beginning to feel a tiny scrap of sympathy for Tracey Temple. Of course, she is not without culpability. She blithely had an affair with a married man — one whose wife considered her to be a friend. That is nothing to be proud of.

Yet since the affair was exposed by a newspaper, Tracey has been thrown to the wolves while her former lover gets on with the business of rebuilding his life and his marriage.


Carla Bruni has landed a walk-on part in a Woody Allen film

Oh, la la! a star is born. Kind of. Having a walk-on part in the latest Woody Allen film seems to have gone to Carla Bruni’s gorgeous head. ‘I am more popular than the Queen,’ she trilled this week, although she did not specify which queen, so my money is on Priscilla, of desert fame.

The French first lady makes her acting debut in Midnight In Paris, opening the Cannes Film Festival this week. Woody Allen cast Mrs Bruni-Sarkozy in the role after she invited him to the Elysee Palace for tea. They only had to torture the famous director in the palace dungeons for 36 hours until he agreed to cast Carla as a museum tour guide. ‘I didn’t have to talk her into it,’ says Woody. Understatement of the century.

While it might not have been the romance of the century, no affair that lasted for two years could be devoid of affection and warm feelings — even if it now suits the former Deputy Prime Minister to claim that this was the case. A claim made both to his wife and to the electorate, which rather cruelly downgrades Tracey Temple in the court of public opinion.

In this respect, her fate is similar to that of Helen Wood, the prostitute at the centre of the super-injunction obtained by a famous married actor to keep details of their 195 sex liaison a secret.

The actor’s identity and reputation are protected, but not hers.

Oncethese cheating men have had their fun, it seems, the dirty dogs will doanything to cover their tracks and shield themselves from censure. Evenif that means letting their partners in grime swing solo on the gibbet of public condemnation.

Indeed, the way the Prescotts go on, you would think the entire affair was all Tracey Temple’s fault. In autobiographies (his and hers), assorted newspaper articles and television interviews, Lord and Lady P have consistently dismissed Tracey as a sexual irrelevance; some kind of scheming siren in glossy M&S tights who tempted poor, doltish Prezza from the path of righteousness.

Then they get on with the lucrative business of invading their own privacy to aid and abet the sale of their assortedpublishing enterprises. Really. You could toast crumpets on the heat ofthe hypocrisy.

Particularly as Baron Prescott of Kingston-upon-Hull is barely off the television these days, moaning about his privacy being invaded by the ‘gutter press’.

Yet Baron Blowhard has a bit of a nerve to bluster persistently and fulminate about newspaper freedoms and privacy issues. He wants the former to be curtailed and the latter to be enshrined by restrictive laws. An understandable determination, of course, from a man who once had so much to hide.

Yet if anyone is looking for the very definition of what is and what is not a private matter, of what is in the public interest versus what the public are merely interested in, then look no further than John Prescott’s tawdry affair with his secretary, a divorcee 24 years his junior.

I don’t think it’s too cruel to say that the former DPM is hardly leading man material. Or that away from the hothouse of Westminster, where he held a powerful position in government, it would be unlikely that young blonde secretaries would even give him a second glance.

In short, he used his status to attain sexual favours from an underling, which says agreat deal about his character and his integrity. None of it good.

Soof course this affair was something the public should have known about.It has a bearing on us all. It changed our opinion of him.

WhenPrescott should have been concentrating on government business, he was busy plotting repeated trysts with Tracey at the DPM’s grace and do-me-a-favour flat in Whitehall, and also at Dorneywood, the lush 215-acre country retreat in Buckinghamshire.

What makes all this even worse is not just that a high-ranking member of a government should betray his wife and behave in such a foolish manner. It is that he behaved so, so badly towards Tracey Temple, and continues to do so today.

Think about that next time you see old Baron Blowhard huffing and puffing on television about the dreadful, awful Press.


In her new book, Madeleine, Kate McCann writes of the online vitriol she has suffered since the disappearance of her daughter. In her personal catalogue of agonies, this is hardly the most piercing affront, but interesting in the light of events this week.

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In Mrs McCann’s experience, the internet provides individuals with a ‘largely unregulated opportunity to set up websites and forums and blogs where they can share their bile and hate with other faceless, anonymous low-lifes, all locked away in their bedrooms’.

At first, the online accusations that she had murdered her own daughter upset Mrs McCann tremendously. Then she learned to ignore them. Ultimately, she began to pity these maladjusted nobodies and monomaniacs dishing out their reams of deranged malice under a cloak of anonymity. She is right. In the end, it’s only the babble of loons, ricocheting around cyberspace like astral junk. It may be wicked, but none of it matters a jot.

Yet how sad that the McCanns’ ordeal should be besmirched by the casual cruelty of so many online.

Forgive me, but I didn’t feel quite so sympathetic when Jemima Khan complained about her treatment on the social networking site Twitter this week. Despite being an ardent tweeter herself, Jemima was horrified when some fellow internet users spread false rumours that she was having an affair with Jeremy Clarkson.

‘I’m trapped in a nightmare!’ she complained. Yet I think we would all agree there is a very big difference between her online nightmare and that of poor Kate McCann.

Duncan Bannatyne has opened the charity bidding on Princess Beatrice

What am I bid for this monstrosity Oh, Princess Bea’s got some nerve, hasn’t she, attempting to sell her wedding hat on eBay Even if it is for charity. It’s certainly a charity case, if ever I saw one.

Still, at least it shows Bea has a sense of humour, even though she must be desperate to get rid of the fandangled fascinator. Even if it is, I’m afraid, going to haunt her for the rest of her life.

Whoever would ever buy such a thing Anybody know a giant preying mantis who needs something fancy to wear to the ugly bug ball

TRIFLE TOO MUCH SHERRY, DELIAFull of cheers: TV cook Delia Smith was emotional about her love for Norwich City football team

Oh dear. Delia Smith appeared to have had one cranberry juice too many when she appeared on the balcony of Norwich City Hall to celebrate Norwich City’s return to football’s Premier League.

Yet after ploughing 12 million of her own fortune into the club, after the years of agony and too many goalless draws for comfort, what a fabulous triumph for her. If there was ever a moment to put too much sherry in Delia’s trifle of life, surely this was it.


Farmer Adam Henson is a presenter on BBC One’s Countryfile. He knows about animals and their welfare. He cares about the beasts who come under his care. And like all farmers, he knows that down on the farm, difficult decisions devoid of sentiment have to be made.

Yet for merely presenting a television report on plans to cull badgers, he has attracted the ire of animal rights activists, who have threatened to kill him and ‘burn his children’.

Good God! Yet this is a typically unhinged response from irresponsible animal campaigners. You only have to mention in print that you once enjoyed a prawn sandwich or a boiled crab to receive reams of drool-spattered invective from the most vigilant activists. And when it comes to anything to do with badgers, they go completely nuts.

Badgers are a protected species and deeply lovely creatures, but they can spread bovine tuberculosis and devastate dairy herds.

Some farmers insist that a badger cull is necessary in areas where entire herds of cattle have been killed, but the protestors are having none of it.

The Animal Liberation Front has already promised to tear down farmers’ fences and damage buildings if a cull happens.

A difficult summer lies ahead. And once more it becomes clear that the ignorance and misplaced fervour of some animal protestors means that they do more harm than good. But they’re just too dumb to know it.

Nobody has paid the 43m price tag yet

Nobody has paid the 43m price tag yet

The Qianlong vase fetched a record 43 million at auction last year — but nobody has actually paid the money yet. Surely this is a international mystery worthy of Tintin and Snowy’s attentions

And while they are at it, perhaps they could solve another problem. Namely this: if art from the Far East is so rare and precious, why is there so much of it around

Assorted Oriental masterpieces with an estimated value of more than 35million were up for sale at Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Bonhams auction houses in London this week. A number of specialist Asian art sales are also due to be held in Dorset, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Essex.

Is there a factory somewhere, knocking this stuff out Piled high in auction rooms, why is it so rare and expensive Tintin and Snowy, it’s over to you.