UK Poker

Cowboy Gifts Agitate Prescott Situation Further

British Prime Minister John Prescott is put in a more compromising spot after reports emerged that in addition to staying at casino mogul Philip Anschutz's ranch summer last year, he was also presented with an elaborate Wild West outfit as a gift.

Prescott reportedly received a Stetson Hat, tooled leather shoes, and a personalized belt with the monogram JP in the silver buckle. Local craftsmen estimate the loot to be worth around $20,000.

A spokesman for the deputy prime minister said that the gifts would be declared by the end of the month as is practice.

Prescott has been neck deep in controversy following the continuous allegations and evidence against him linking him to the casino tycoon. Anschutz is bidding for the Millennium Dome to be Britain's first even super casino and Prescott has been accused of wielding influence for key offices to side on the dome.

He has also been under pressure from the government, and a debate has sparked on whether he has broken Ministerial Codes by personally associating with the casino financier.

Under the ministerial code, "no minister should accept gifts, hospitality or services from anyone which would, or might appear to, place him or her under an obligation".

Standards watchdog Sir Alistair Graham has already prodded Prime Minister Blair to intervene and launch an inquiry into the Prescott controversy.






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