POLITICAL heavyweight John Prescott climbed into the boxing ring on a visit to Teesside to support two prospective female Labour MPs fighting for the Redcar and Stockton South constituencies.

In 2001 the Labour Deputy Prime Minister infamously punched a protester who threw an egg at him during a visit to Rhyl in north Wales, earning him the nickname 'Two Jabs' - and he put on a pair of gloves at Redcar Amateur Boxing Club for an impromptu sparring session with TV reporter Michael Crick.

Mr Crick, who works for Channel 4 News, adopted a defensive technique, while his opponent threw half a dozen punches during the bout which a Labour Party spokesman described as an "easy win for Prescott".

Mr Prescott heard from election hopeful, Anna Turley, and the club’s founder, Frankie Wales, that disaffected local youths could be turned into model employees through the power of pugilism.

“Boxing teaches self worth and discipline. If you have the right attitude you are going to get a job, if we can create more employment for people round here, that’s what we need to do,” explained Mr Wales who welcomes 3,000 people through the doors of Coatham Memorial Hall each year.

Daniel Windsor, 23, told Mr Prescott, a former seaman, that through the pre-employment training offered through Mr Wales’ Redcar Development Trust he had secured a full-time job at PD Ports as an apprentice stock operative.

The life peer in the House of Lords, who refused to be addressed by his official title of Baron Prescott as he said sounded too much like pantomime, said he had once been unemployed for two years so understood how important it was to feel supported.

He said: “By coming into the boxing club it gives them more discipline, training, and pride. Then they feel they have something to give to their communities. It’s a small part and we have to do a lot more but they feel like they are on a track back to a normal life.”

The 76-year-old was delayed by 45-minutes after getting stuck in rush hour traffic in his next engagement in Louise Baldock’s marginal Stockton South constituency and asked “Is this the end of the world?” as he climbed out of his Jaguar when he finally arrived.

There he gave a rousing 10-minute speech on a soap box made of wooden crates outside her Labour headquarters in Thornaby in front of a group of 30 canvassers and party activists.

“It has been really great to have him come here as he is such a great campaigner,” said Ms Baldock. “Everybody loves to see him as he is a legend in politics.”