Since appearing in the BBC2 documentaryPrescott: The Class System And Me, the stock of the former deputy prime minister has well and truly risen. According to the booking agency JLA, who represent Prescott, he has moved up the public speaking ranks to “A-grade” status and can now command fees of up to £25,000 for engagements.
Jeremy Lee, the head of JLA, acknowledges the boost in interest since the show. He says: “It is determined by the market, by how in demand people are. John has been very popular.”
The news will no doubt delight “Two Jags”. While he is unlikely to match his former boss Tony Blair‘s earning power – he is said to earn £200,000 for his pow-wows about world affairs and in his first year out of office reportedly made £12m – he can console himself with the fact that the former Tory minister Michael Portillo, also represented by JLA, is a “B-grade speaker” who only earns £5,000 per engagement.
Prescott should be thanking his wife Pauline for his new-found popularity: most critics saw her as the true star turn of what was otherwise a rather dreary documentary. Says a Westminster source: “People are probably only booking him in the hope that she will come along too.”