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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 quote. British politician sent to prison for libel who embarked on a successful 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.”

Astor, Lady Nancy – famous quotes

“Real education should educate us out of self into something far finer; into a selflessness which links us with all humanity.”

“One reason I don’t drink is that I want to know when I am having a good time.”
“I married beneath me. All women do.”
“The main dangers in this life are the people who want to change everything… or nothing.”
“The penalty for success is to be bored by the people who used to snub you.”

“We women talk too much, but even then we don’t tell half what we know.”

“The only thing I like about rich people is their money.”
“In passing, also, I would like to say that the first time Adam had a chance he laid the blame on a woman.”

” refuse to admit that I am more than fifty-two, even if that does make my sons illegitimate.”

Attlee, Clement – on political parties

“If you begin to consider yourself solely responsible to a political party, you’re half-way to a dictatorship.”

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.”

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.”

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.”


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”


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

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, Alastair – 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.

Castle, Barbara – About being sacked

“I have been discarded like a piece of old junk.”

On being sacked from the government by Callaghan in 1976.

Castle, Barbara – About Margaret Thatcher

“If we have to have Tories, good luck to her. She is the best man among them.”

On Margaret Thatcher during the 1975 Conservative leadership campaign.

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)

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

Duke of Wellington

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

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

When 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.”

Fawcett, Millicent – on why women should get the vote

“We are not asking Parliament to give a legislative expression to any theory or doctrine of equality between the sexes, but we ask Parliament to weigh the practical expediency of giving Parliamentary representation to a certain class of women who, as heads of households and ratepayers, have already had experience of voting in other elections, where much good and no harm whatever has resulted from including them in the lists of persons entitled to vote.”

15 April 1892 – responding to a letter by Mr Samuel Smith MP.

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.”

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.”  

Edward Heath – 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”

Edward Heath – About Europe

Edward Heath when interviewed in 1984 about taking Britain into Europe

“It was the most enthralling episode in my life” –

Edward Heath – 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”

Edward Heath – About Margaret Thatcher’s Resignation

Edward Heath after hearing the news in November 1990

“Rejoice! Rejoice!”

Edward Heath – 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”

Edward Heath – 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!’

Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery – Being a leader

“The first duty of a leader is opti­mism. How does your sub­or­di­nate feel after meet­ing with you? Does he feel uplifted? If not, you are not a leader.”

Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery – Second World War

“If we lose the war in the air we lose the war and lose it quickly.”

Harold Macmillan – 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”

Harold Macmillan – 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.”

Harold Macmillan – 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”

Harold Macmillan – on negotiations

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

John Major – 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

John Major – on Europe

“They seem to have moved from total opposition to total subservience”

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

Theresa May – about targets

“Targets don’t fight crime.”

when Home Secretary

Theresa May 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.”

Margaret Thatcher – 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.”

Margaret Thatcher – About Edward Heath during Leadership contest

Spoken in 1975

“I’ve got my teeth into him, and I’m not going to let go”

Margaret Thatcher- About 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)

Margaret Thatcher – About Gorbachev

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

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

Margaret Thatcher – 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

Margaret Thatcher – About Sir Keith Joseph

“To have known him was to have one’s life changed by him. Now, as the sorrow passes, we are left with memories and with pride.”

3 June 1995

Baroness Jean Trumpington – 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.”