FORMER Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott entertained crowds in York city centre with an impression of Gordon Brown’s smile – before giving his backing to The Press’s York Means Business campaign.

The Hull East MP was visiting York as part of a four-day tour of the north of England to drum up support for Labour in the European elections on June 4.

Mr Prescott arrived in St Helen’s Square in a Prescott Express campaigning minibus, with Bank Holiday shoppers and tourists stopping to listen to his speech.

He urged people in York to use their vote in the forthcoming European elections to stop the far-right British National Party (BNP) winning a seat in Brussels.

“This is a proportional election, so if the BNP gets just five per cent of the vote, they will have a voice in the European Parliament,” he said.

“I don’t like that, but we have to fight them democratically and that’s why it’s important for everyone to vote.

“In countries like Africa, people queue up to vote. Whatever your political position, we hope you will vote and play a part because that’s what it’s all about.”

Despite this serious message, Mr Prescott was in a playful mood and succeeded in raising a few laughs with his impression of the Prime Minister’s smile.

“I have worked with Gordon Brown for an awfully long time,” he said.

“He must have the worst bloody smile in the world, but the man has got the ability and the intellect to get on with the job.”

The Prime Minister has been ridiculed for his use of YouTube to put policy messages across, including one in which he grinned broadly. Speaking to The Press after his speech, Mr Prescott said he was 100 per cent behind our York Means Business campaign.

He said: “I will back anything that will help boost the economy at the moment. What’s beautiful about York is that the big outlets haven’t taken over.

“I love York. I was here two weeks ago. I bought a phone here and went to Little Bettys. It’s really important that people keep spending. Buy something and it will give somebody else a job.”

Mr Prescott even wished York City luck for Saturday’s clash with Stevenage Borough in the FA Trophy Final at Wembley.

“They are not playing Hull, so yes, I’ll support York,” he said.