U.K. deputy prime minister target of inquiry

/ Source: The Associated Press

British police are looking into a complaint that Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott broke the law by allegedly having sex with a secretary in his ministerial office, Scotland Yard said Monday.

The action follows a formal complaint sent by letter to Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair by a former police officer from Glasgow, Scotland.

Prescott, 67, recently acknowledged having a two-year extramarital affair with his 43-year-old secretary Tracey Temple.

In a newspaper interview, and according to extracts from her diary serialized in the Mail on Sunday newspaper, Temple said she and Prescott, a mainstay in Tony Blair's government, had sexual relations in his ministerial office.

The complaint made by former detective Alistair Watson cited the case of a police officer in Manchester, northwest England, who was sentenced to community service labor after he had sex with a woman three times at her home while he was on duty.

"We can confirm we have now received the letter alleging `misconduct in public office' and are considering its content," said a statement from Scotland Yard.

"I think in the interest of equality and justice, there is no reason why Mr. Prescott and Miss Temple cannot be prosecuted," said the letter, published in the Sunday Times newspaper.

"This is not a malicious thing. If there are rules that apply to ordinary people, somebody like John Prescott should be treated the same, or more harshly."

Prescott was spared by Prime Minister Tony Blair when he overhauled his Cabinet last week, but was stripped of the responsibilities of his department.

He has faced stinging criticism from opposition lawmakers, though, who say he doesn't deserve his ministerial salary or access to his weekend home because he no longer has any powers.