Now it has been reignited after Lord Mandelson was appointed to a prestigious role in the former deputy prime minister’s home city of Hull.
Lord Prescott has written an ‘irate’ letter to the local council after being passed over for the post of High Steward in the city where he was an MP for 40 years.
New Labour wars: Lord Mandelson has beaten his great rival Lord Prescott to the role of High Steward of Hull - Prezza's home city
Instead, the Labour-controlled council has appointed former business secretary Lord Mandelson to act as the city’s new ambassador.
He will try to attract business and investment to Hull. The post is being revived after almost 40 years.
Lord Prescott, who recently failed in his bid to become Humberside’s first elected police and crime commissioner, responded by firing off a letter to city hall demanding to know why he had not been consulted.
One source said councillors who saw the letter were ‘rolling about on the floor laughing’ at his self-important tone.
‘It reeked of a sense of entitlement,’ the source said. ‘It was a “don’t you know who I am” letter.’
Lord Prescott had a spiky relationship with Lord Mandelson during the New Labour years and in 1997 they battled over who was ‘minding the shop’ while Tony Blair was on holiday.
Lord Prescott was MP for Hull East from 1970 to 2010, and missed out on becoming Humberside's police and crime commissioner last year
During a Thames visit, Lord Prescott was presented with a Chinese mitten crab, which he christened Peter.
Yesterday he insisted he was unfazed by the council’s decision.
The roles date back to 1583 but lapsed in the 1970s. The city recently restored them after petitioning the Queen in a ‘loyal address’.
Lord Mandelson’s grandfather, the wartime Home Secretary Herbert Morrison, once held the post.
To add insult to injury a junior role of High Sheriff has gone to former Tory Cabinet minister Virginia Bottomley.
The latest snub for Lord Prescott comes after he was defeated in his bid to become the police and crime commissioner for Humberside.
Lord Prescott admitted he had contacted the council demanding to know why he had not been asked about who should become chosen to be High Steward.
The political heavyweights who played a key role in New Labour's have had a long-running rivalry
Lord Prescott said: ‘I was notified about the decision late on Monday afternoon and have contacted the council for further information.
‘I am surprised it wasn't discussed with me earlier but I will continue to do what I have done for the last 43 years - to promote Hull and fight to bring jobs and investment to the city.
‘I also have no interest in being a steward again - I did that job on the liners for ten years.’
Council leader Steve Brady confirmed Lord Mandelson and Baroness Bottomley had accepted the unpaid posts: ‘We looked very strongly at the family connection with Lord Mandelson, secondly he was previously Business Secretary and thirdly he has very strong connections throughout Europe.
‘Although this is a civic office I am sure he will understand the problems of Hull and work with the people who care about this city, including John Prescott.
‘All I am concentrating on is getting as many people battling for Hull as possible with influence to make a difference.’
In 1997 Lord Prescott christened a Chinese Mitten Crab 'Peter' in a swipe at his great rival
Other council figures insisted Lord Mandelson was the right man for the job.
Former Lord Mayor Colin Inglis said: ‘As a former European Commissioner and Business Secretary Lord Mandelson is precisely the sort of highly placed and well-connected individual Hull needs to press its case.’
Labour Cabinet member Phil Webster added: ‘We made a strategic choice and we never set out to upset anyone. If it has caused offence we are sorry for that.’