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Britain's deputy PM in scuffle

Prescott on the campaign trail earlier in the week  

LONDON, England -- Britain's Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott was involved in a scuffle as he made his way to a campaign event in North Wales.

At least two eggs were thrown at Prescott as he arrived for a Labour Party rally in Rhyl, ahead of June's general election, and he responded by hitting out at one man.

With egg splattered on his jacket, Prescott was then led into the theatre by police past about 30 protesters, bearing placards supporting hunting and highlighting the plight of farmers.

A Labour Party spokesman said: "John Prescott was attacked by a protester as he made his way into a campaign event in Rhyl.

"He defended himself from the attack as anybody would in the circumstances. We understand a man is being questioned and we cannot comment further into the circumstances."

Other leading politicians were on the rough end of public opinion on Wednesday amid campaigning for the June 7 general election.

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Tony Blair was confronted in Birmingham by the angry partner of a cancer patient who accused Labour of failing the National Health Service.

After angrily berating the prime minister Sharron Storer said: "All he kept saying was they're going to do better, they are trying. But he has been trying for years in my opinion and they still haven't got it right."

Home Secretary Jack Straw met a similarly hostile reception when police officers jeered and slow clapped as he addressed the Police Federation Annual Conference in Blackpool.

They constantly laughed as he said their job was a popular one and that the level of staff departures was "stable and low."

Opposition Conservative leader William Hague was also heckled as he campaigned in Portsmouth and Wolverhampton.

Surrounded by a hostile crowd Hague and his wife cut short a walkabout.

The incidents were in stark contrast to the campaign's first week of carefully managed press conferences and walkabouts.

Blair's Labour Party won power in a 1997 landslide and early opinion polls show him heavily favoured to take this election too.

• Labour Party
• Conservative Party
• Liberal Democrats

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