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Abbott, Tony - about Australia Day

Tony Abbott, who became Prime Minister of Australia, speaking on 5 April 2010

"Now, I know that there are some Aboriginal people who aren’t happy with Australia Day. For them it remains Invasion Day. I think a better view is the view of Noel Pearson, who has said that Aboriginal people have much to celebrate in this country’s British Heritage.” 

 

Aitken, Jonathan - About being in prison

"It's a fairly unique position; to have been in charge of prison funding and then to have been an inmate. I wish I'd been more generous." 

Speaking to The Times Newspaper, 3 June 2000

 

Archer, Jeffrey - About being in prison

Jeffrey Archer, British politician sent to prison for libel who embarked on a succesful writing career

"I wrote a million words in the first year, and I could never have done that outside of prison."

 

Asquith, Herbert - About the Army and politics

Speaking on 4th April, 1914

"The army will hear nothing of politics from me and in return I expect to hear nothing of politics from the army" 

 

Asquith, Herbert - About war office statistics during first world war

"One to mislead the public, another to mislead the Cabinet and the third to mislead itself."

 

Astor, Lady Nancy - exchange with Winston Churchill

Lady Nancy Astor: "Winston, if you were my husband, I'd poison your tea."

Winston Churchill: "Nancy, if I were your husband, I'd drink it."

 

Attlee, Clement - on political parties

If you begin to consider yourself solely responsible to a political party, you're half-way to a dictatorship." 

 

Cranmer, Thomas - About execution of Anne Boleyn

Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, on hearing of Anne’s execution in 1536.

"She who has been the Queen of England on earth will today become a Queen in Heaven." 

 

Baldwin, Stanley - About the Abdication of Edward VIII

"When I was a little boy in Worcestershire reading history books I never thought I should have to interfere between a king and his mistress” 

 

Baldwin, Stanley - on being Prime Minister

“It is the loneliest job in the world. A Prime Minister cannot share his ultimate responsibilities”. 

Stanley Baldwin

 

Benn, Tony - on being in Parliament

"Having served in eleven Parliaments, it would be difficult to describe this as a maiden speech. It would be like Elizabeth Taylor appearing at her next wedding in a white gown.

Tony Benn, 1984

 

Benn, Tony - Resignation of Margaret Thatcher

The Tories think they are witnessing the retirement of a popular headmistress under circumstances that some might regret" 

Tony Benn, 1990

 

Bevan, Aneurin - About politics

Labour Party politician

"Politics is a blood sport." 

 

Bevan, Aneurin - About the media

Labour Party politician

"I read the newspaper avidly. It is my one form of continuous fiction" 

 

Bevin, Ernest - on civilisation

"Civilisation cannot survive if it rests on a propertyless proletariat." 

Ernest Bevin 1941

 

Bevin, Ernest - on the atomic bomb

"There has been great excitement at the prospect that this atomic bomb or atomic energy is likely to produce great industrial energy very quickly, I do not believe it at all" 

Ernest Bevin, 1945

 

Blair, Tony - About education

“Ask me my three main priorities for government, and I tell you: education, education, education." 

Labour Party Conference - 1st October 1996

 

Blair, Tony - About Prime Minister John Major

‘I lead my party. He follows his’ 

The House of Commons, 25 May 1995 

 

Blair, Tony - Last PMQs

Prime Minister Tony Blair, 27 June 2007, final Prime Minister’s Question Time (PMQs) in the House of Commons

"I wish everyone, friend or foe, well and that is that, the end’ 

 

Brown, Gordon - About boom and bust

Gordon Brown, Chancellor of the Exchequer, speech to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) May 20 1997

"The British economy of the future must be built not on the shifting sands of boom and bust, but on the bedrock of prudent and wise economic management for the long term." 

 

Burke, Edmund - About good and evil

British politician and philosopher

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." 

 

Bush, George W - Speaking with Tony Blair on War

 George W Bush, December 7, 2006, in a joint appearance with Prime Minister Tony Blair

"Make no mistake about it, I understand how tough it is, sir. I talk to families who die." 

 

Callaghan, James - About calling a General Election

Prime Minister James Callaghan on his intention not to call a general election in September 1978

"I am not proposing to seek your votes because there is a blue sky ahead today." 

 

Callaghan, James - About standards of life

Prime Minister James Callaghan, 1976

"Let me say that of course there has been a fall in people's standard of life. And it has fallen this year and will fall again next year."

 

Cameron, David - About birth of Prince George of Cambridge

Prime Minister David Cameron commenting on the birth of Prince George, 2013


"It is an important moment in the life of our nation, and I suppose above all it is a wonderful moment for a warm and loving couple who have got a brand new baby boy" 

 

Cameron, David - About Tony Blair

 

David Cameron about Tony Blair at Prime Ministers Question Time, December 2005


"I want to talk about the future. He was the future once"


 

Cameron, David - On being a Conservative

"I am Conservative to the core of my being, as those who know me best will testify.

Spoken in January 2006

 

Campbell, Alaistair - About religion and politics

"We don't do God. I'm sorry. We don't do God."  

Chief Press Officer, when asked about Tony Blair's religious views.

 

Churchill, Winston - blood, toil, tears and sweat

“I would say to the House, as I said to those who have joined this Government, I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat. We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many long months of toil and struggle.

You ask what is our policy? I will say, it is to wage war with all our might, with all the strength that God can give us, to wage war against a monstrous tyranny never surpassed in the dark lamentable catalogue of human crime.

You ask what is our aim? I can answer in one word. Victory. Victory at all costs. Victory in spite of all terror. Victory however long and hard the road may be. For without victory there is no survival.”

(First speech as Prime Minister, House of Commons, 13 May, 1940)

 

Churchill, Winston - not flag or fail

“We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and strength in the air. We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the landing-grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills. We shall never surrender.”

(Speech to the House of Commons, 4 June, 1940)

 

Churchill, Winston - Owed by so many to so few

“The gratitude of every home in our island, in our Empire, and indeed throughout the world, except in these abodes of the guilty, goes out to the British airmen who undaunted by the odds, unwearied in their constant challenge and mortal danger, are turning the tide of the world war by their prowess and by their devotion. Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.”

A tribute to the Royal Air Force, House of Commons 20 August, 1940

 

Churchill, Winston - The Battle of France is over

“What General Weygand called the Battle of France is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilisation. Upon it depends our own British life, and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows the he will have to break us in this island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, this was their finest hour.”

(Speech to the House of Commons, 18 June, 1940)

 

Clinton, Bill - About the Economy

Often used by British politicians to describe election campaigns

"It's the economy, stupid."

 

Cranmer, Thomas - About execution of Anne Boleyn

Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, on hearing of Anne’s execution in 1536.

"She who has been the Queen of England on earth will today become a Queen in Heaven." 

 

Cromwell, Oliver

17th Century Parliamentarian, Army General and Lord Protector after the English Civil War

"Put your trust in God and keep your powder dry." 

 

Cromwell, Oliver - About Parliament

"You have sat too long for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!"

17th Century Parliamentarian, Army General and Lord Protector following English Civil War. Spoken in 1653.

 

Harper, Stephen - Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Visit to Canada

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper commenting on the visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in July 2011

“I say we haven't seen a love-in like that since the first visit of The Beatles.”  

 

Prince William - about his engagement to Kate Middleton

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge on his engagement announced in 2011 

"We'll sort of get over the marriage first and then maybe look at the kids. But obviously we want a family so we'll have to start thinking about that" 

 

Darling, Alistair - About austerity

Outgoing Labour Chancellor of the Exchequer following coalition in 2010

"Tory plans to cut 'further and faster' would wreck recovery and roll back Labour's many successes."

 

Diana, Princess of Wales - About the Royal Family

Princess Diana of Wales

"It's vital that the monarchy keeps in touch with the people. It's what I try and do" 

 

Diana, Princess of Wales - on being Queen

"I'd like to be a queen in people's hearts but I don't see myself being queen of this country."

 

Disraeli, Benjamin - about coalitions

British Prime Minister

"Coalitions though successful have always found this, that their triumph has been brief." 

 

Disraeli, Benjamin - About Royalty

British Prime Minister

"Everyone likes flattery; and when you come to Royalty you should lay it on with a trowel."

 

Disraeli, Benjamin - About universities

British Prime Minister

"A university should be a place of light, of liberty, and of learning."

 

Disraeli, Benjamin - creating a nation

"Individuals may form communities, but it is institutions alone that can create a nation."

 

Douglas Home, Alec - About politics and economics

"There are two problems in my life. The political ones are insoluble and the economic ones are incomprehensible." 

 

Douglas Home, Alec - Becoming Prime Minister

"The doctor unfortunately said I was fit." Alec Douglas Home, just before becoming Prime Minister, 1964 

 

Eden, Anthony - about politicians

"I am one of a rare breed of true politicians who definitely say what they may or may not mean with absolute certainty"

 

Eden, Anthony - on the Suez Crisis

"We are not at war with Egypt. We are in a state of armed conflict" 

Speaking in 1956

 

Elizabeth I - Tilbury during Spanish Armada

Queen Elizabeth I, addressing her troops ahead of the battle with the Spanish Armada. Spoken at Tilbury, England, 1588

I know I have the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too." 

 

Elizabeth II - About Diana Princess of Wales

Queen Elizabeth II, September 1997 on Diana's death

"No one who knew Diana will ever forget her. Millions of others who never met her, but felt they knew her, will remember her. I, for one, believe there are lessons to be drawn from her life and from the extraordinary and moving reaction to her death. I share in your determination to cherish her memory." 

 

Elizabeth II - On her Coronation

Spoken by Queen Elizabeth II, 1947

"I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong." 

 

Farage, Nigel - About the Brexit Result

“The EU is a failing, the EU is dying. I hope we have knocked the first brick out of the wall. I hope this is the first step towards a Europe of sovereign nation states trading together, neighbours together, friends together. 

But without the flags, anthems or useless old unelected presidents - June 23rd 2016

 

Farage, Nigel - About the Conservative Party

"I have become increasingly used to the Tory party mimicking our policies and phrases in a desperate effort to pretend to their members they are still Eurosceptic."

 

Farage, Nigel - About the European Union

Leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) and Member of the European Parliament 

"I think frankly when it comes to chaos you ain't seen nothing yet." 

 

Fox, Liam - About Afghanistan

Liam Fox MP, when British Defence Secretary

We can't afford to see Afghanistan roll backwards into a failed state that could become a base from which terrorist campaigns can be launched anywhere in the world." 

 

Franklin, Benjamin - Death and taxes

Often used by politicians 

"Certainty? In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes."

 

Gandhi, Mahatma - About policy

"A policy is a temporary creed liable to be changed, but while it holds good it has got to be pursued with apostolic zeal." 

 

Gladstone, William - About making laws

British Prime Minister born 1809

"Good laws make it easier to do right and harder to do wrong."  

 

Grey, Sir Edward

"The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime."

 

King George VI

"The highest of distinctions is service to others"

 

Harper, Stephen - Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Visit to Canada

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper commenting on the visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in July 2011

“I say we haven't seen a love-in like that since the first visit of The Beatles.”  

 

Heath, Edward - About being Prime Minister

Prime Minister Edward Heath, November, 1976.

"You mustn't expect prime ministers to enjoy themselves. If they do, they mustn't show it - the population would be horrified" 

 

Heath, Edward - About Europe

Edward Heath when interviewed in 1984 about taking Britain into Europe

"It was the most enthralling episode in my life" - 

 

Heath, Edward - About Great Britain

Edward Heath, From a speech made in June 1970.

"We may be a small island, but we are not a small people" 

 

Heath, Edward - About Margaret Thatcher's Resignation

Edward Heath after hearing the news in November 1990

"Rejoice! Rejoice!"  


 

Heath, Edward - About the Conservatives choosing Margaret Thatcher

Edward Heath on Margaret Thatcher's election to the leadership of the Tory Party, 1975

"They have made a grave mistake choosing that woman" 

 

Heath, Edward - About William Hague

Edward Heath when asked about William Hague's election to the leadership of the Conservative Party, 1997

"A tragedy for the party. He's got no ideas, no experience and no hope"  

 

Heath, Edward - Party Conference 1970

Edward Heath, October 1970 to the Conservative Party conference

"We will have to embark on a change so radical, a revolution so quiet and yet so total, that it will go far beyond the programme for a parliament"

 

Henry VIII - about Kings of England

"We are, by the sufferance of God, King of England; and the Kings of England in times past never had any superior but God’ 

 

Henry VIII - About meeting Anne of Cleves

King Henry VIII (Tudor) spoken after meeting Anne of Cleves, his fourth wife

‘You have sent me a Flanders mare!’  

 

Prince Harry of Wales - About the Queen 2012

Talking about his Grandmother the Queen's Diamond Jubilee year

"In a small room with close members of the family, then she is just a normal grandmother. Very relaxed." 


 

Prince Harry of Wales - on serving in the military

"I would never want to put someone else's life in danger when they have to sit next to the bullet magnet. But if I'm wanted, if I'm needed, then I will serve my country as I signed up to do."

 

Izzard, Eddie - About immigration

British Comedian and Activist

"I don't know what it's like in the U.S. but immigrants in the U.K. do the jobs the citizens won't do." 

 

Jenkins, Roy - about Edward Heath

"I am sure Mr Heath thinks he is honest but I wish he didn't have to have his friends say it so often" 

 

Johnson, Boris - About becoming Prime Minister

"My chances of being PM are about as good as the chances of finding Elvis on Mars, or my being reincarnated as an olive." 

 

Johnson, Boris- On eating cake

Spoken by the Mayor of London

"My policy on cake is pro having it and pro eating it."

 

Kissinger, Henry - About politicians

American Statesman

"Ninety percent of the politicians give the other ten percent a bad reputation." 

 

Kitchener, Lord - On Asquith

"My colleagues tell military secrets to their wives, except Asquith, who tells them to other people's wives."

 

Lennox, Annie - About feminism

British Singer and Campaigner

"We all fight over what the label 'feminism' means but for me it's about empowerment. It's not about being more powerful than men - it's about having equal rights with protection, support, justice. It's about very basic things. It's not a badge like a fashion item." 

 

Lloyd George, David - About the House of Commons

"To anyone with politics in his blood this place is like a pub to a drunkard."


 

Lloyd George, David - on one of his opponents

"The Right Honourable Gentleman has sat for so long on the fence that the iron has entered his soul." 

 

1931


 

Lloyd George, David - troops coming home

"A country fit for heroes to live in." 

November 1918, speaking about what he wanted for British troops returning at the end of the war

 

Macmillan, Harold - about British society

Prime Minister Harold Macmillan

"We believe that unless we give opportunity to the strong and able, we shall never have the means to provide real protection for the weak and the old" 

 

Macmillan, Harold - about quitting as Prime Minister

Prime Minister Harold Macmillan to his Party Conference, 1963

"I will not be able to carry the physical burden of leading the Party at the next general election. I hope it will soon be possible for the customary processes of consultation to be carried on within the Party about its future leadership." 

 

Macmillan, Harold - About the Liberals

Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, 1961

"As usual, the Liberals offer a mixture of sound and original ideas. Unfortunately, none of the sound ideas is original, and none of the original ideas is sound" 

 

Macmillan, Harold - on negotiations

"I have learned that in all negotiations nothing matters except the will to reach agreement."

 

Major, John - on being Prime Minister

"I am not running as Son of Margaret Thatcher. I have my own priorities and my own programmes." 

speaking in 1990 having taken over being Prime Minister from Margaret Thatcher

 

Major, John - on Europe

"They seem to have moved from total opposition to total subservience" 

Commenting on the Labour Party's approach to Europe in 1992

 

May, Theresa - about targets

Targets don't fight crime." 

when Home Secretary

 

May, Theresa on Brexit - 2016 Conservative Party Conference

"The referendum result was clear. It was legitimate. It was the biggest vote for change this country has ever known. Brexit means Brexit – and we’re going to make a success of it."

 

Melbourne, Lord - About government

British Prime Minister during reign of Queen Victoria

"The whole duty of government is to prevent crime and to preserve contracts."

 

Nightingale, Florence - About hospitals

"The very first requirement in a hospital is that it should do the sick no harm"

 

Osborne, George - On Britain's AAA rating 2012

Chancellor George Osborne describing Britain's AAA credit rating in July 2012

"A reminder that despite the economic problems we face, the world has confidence that we are dealing with them." 

 

Osborne, George - On the Conservative Party

The Conservative party, the modern Conservative party, is on the side of people who want to work hard and get on." 

Speaking as Chancellor

 

Pitt, William - About poverty

"Poverty, of course, is no disgrace, but it is damned annoying." 

 

Pitt, William - About power

"Unlimited power corrupts the possessor."

 

Portillo, Michael - on Margaret Thatcher

"She has the ability to see things from the grassroots level and know what is in people's minds" 

Speaking in 1995.

 

Prince Harry of Wales - About the Queen 2012

Talking about his Grandmother the Queen's Diamond Jubilee year

"In a small room with close members of the family, then she is just a normal grandmother. Very relaxed." 


 

Prince William - about his engagement to Kate Middleton

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge on his engagement announced in 2011 

"We'll sort of get over the marriage first and then maybe look at the kids. But obviously we want a family so we'll have to start thinking about that" 

 

Elizabeth I - Tilbury during Spanish Armada

Queen Elizabeth I, addressing her troops ahead of the battle with the Spanish Armada. Spoken at Tilbury, England, 1588

I know I have the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too." 

 

Elizabeth II - About Diana Princess of Wales

Queen Elizabeth II, September 1997 on Diana's death

"No one who knew Diana will ever forget her. Millions of others who never met her, but felt they knew her, will remember her. I, for one, believe there are lessons to be drawn from her life and from the extraordinary and moving reaction to her death. I share in your determination to cherish her memory." 

 

Elizabeth II - On her Coronation

Spoken by Queen Elizabeth II, 1947

"I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong." 

 

Queen Victoria - About marriage

"A marriage is no amusement but a solemn act, and generally a sad one." 

 

Queen Victoria - famous quote

Attributed to the Queen


"We are not amused" 

 

President Reagan - Speaking to British Parliament 1982

President Ronald Reagan Speech to the House of Commons, British Parliament on 8 June 1982


“The march of freedom and democracy….will leave Marxism-Leninism on the ash-heap of history” 

 

Raleigh, Walter - About truth

Explorer

"Whosoever, in writing a modern history, shall follow truth too near the heels, it may happily strike out his teeth." 

 

Redwood, John - About Tony Blair

British Member of Parliament

"At the next General Election, voters face a clear choice: deregulation and less interference in everyday life with the Conservatives, or yet more regulation and interference under Mr Blair." 

 

Salmond, Alex - on Scotland

"Nations are nations if they feel themselves to be a nation. And Scotland overwhelmingly feels itself to be a nation"

 

Scargill, Arthur - About the Labour Movement

"The labour movement had the best opportunity in 50 years to transform not merely an industrial situation and win an important battle for workers in struggle, but an opportunity to change the government of the day." 

 

Henry VIII - About meeting Anne of Cleves

King Henry VIII (Tudor) spoken after meeting Anne of Cleves, his fourth wife

‘You have sent me a Flanders mare!’  

 

Thatcher, Margaret - about beating Edward Heath in the Leadership Contest

Speaking in 1975

"I'll always be fond of dear Ted, but there's no sympathy in politics" 

 

Thatcher, Margaret - About Edward Heath during Leadership contest

Spoken in 1975

"I've got my teeth into him, and I'm not going to let go"

 

Thatcher, Margaret - Mr Delors

“The President of the Commission, Mr Delors, said at a press conference the other day that he wanted the European Parliament to be the democratic body of the Community, he wanted the Commission to be the Executive and he wanted the Council of Ministers to be the Senate. No.No.No.”

(Debate in the House of Commons, 30 October, 1990)

 

Thatcher, Margaret - Mr Gorbachev

“I like Mr Gorbachev, we can do business together.”

(TV interview for the BBC, 17 December, 1984)

 

Thatcher, Margaret - The lady’s not for turning

“To those waiting with bated breath for that favourite media catchphrase, the U-turn, there is only one thing to say: You turn if you want to. The Lady’s not for turning.”
 
Conservative Party Conference, 10 October, 1980

 

Trumpington, Baroness Jean - About getting old

Enigmatic member of the House of Lords known for her frank style

“At the age of 81, I am left with one pleasure and that's passive smoking. I love it.” 

 

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Queen Victoria - About marriage

"A marriage is no amusement but a solemn act, and generally a sad one." 

 

Queen Victoria - famous quote

Attributed to the Queen


"We are not amused" 

 

Duke of Wellington

"I used to say of Napoleon that his presence on the field made the difference of forty thousand men" 


 

Harold Wilson - On the Economy

One man's wage increase is another man's price increase.",  1970

 

Harold Wilson - responding to hecklers

Prime Minister Harold Wilson


"If the Tories get in, in five years no one will be able to afford to buy an egg." 


 

Harold Wilson -Week a Long time in Politics

Prime Minister Harold Wilson - attributed, 1954


"A week is a long time in politics"

 

Prime Minister Harold Wilson -about change

"He who rejects change is the architect of decay. The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery."

 

Prince William - About the Queen

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge


"Being a small boy it's very daunting seeing the Queen around and not really quite knowing what to talk about." 

 

Wilde, Oscar - About society

"Society exists only as a mental concept; in the real world there are only individuals."

 

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Young, George - About the expenses scandal

Leader of the House of Commons during 2009 expenses scandal (written)

"The government fully supports these proposals. The failure to publish more details of the use of rectification is clearly potentially damaging to the House's reputation."  

 

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