John Prescott

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The Right Honourable John Leslie Prescott (born 31 May 1938) is a British Labour Party politician who was Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and First Secretary of State from 1997 to 2007. He is notable for being a northern-accented Cabinet minister of working class origins, and is well known for the mangled syntax that he often employs while speaking.


  • I can tell you I'm pretty middle-class.
    • BBC Radio 4 Today programme interview, 12 April 1996
  • I will have failed in this if in five years there are not many more people using public transport and far fewer journeys by car. It is a tall order but I want you to hold me to it.
    • Paul Brown, "Prescott points buses to fast lane", The Guardian, 6 June 1997, p. 10.
  • The Green Belt is a Labour achievement - and we mean to build on it.
    • "Passing Comment", The Times, 31 January 1998
    • Remark on BBC Radio, 19 January 1998
  • Shit, is this mine? Did I puke on myself again?
    • Waking up drunk on the Jo Wiley show at the height of the Cool Britannia period.
  • Because of the security reasons for one thing and, second, my wife doesn't like to have her hair blown about. Have you got another silly question?
    • BBC News online
    • On ITN news when asked why he had taken a car 250 yards from his hotel to the Labour Party conference in Bournemouth, instead of walking, September 30, 1999.
  • We now have a satisfactory solution not only to coalition forces, but also to the Iraqi authorities themselves.
  • This was released I think in February and so it is a great deal of fuss being made, it hasn't in fact been given public release, it was released in February ...
  • It is a fact that homelessness has continued to rise. It doubled under the previous Administration, but that does not help us. The Government intend to reduce — and probably eliminate — the homeless by 2008. [Interruption.] I am sorry, but the House knows that I have problems with English. I did not go to public school, so there is a limit to what I am able to say. Opposition Members can be such twits. We believe that we can eliminate the problem of homelessness by providing more resources, which is precisely what we are doing.
    • Hansard, House of Commons, 6th Series, vol. 423, col. 1268.
    • Speech in the House of Commons, 13 July 2004.
  • When I see that man on the telly - 'Are you thinking what I'm thinking?' No! I'm definitely not! I find most of it quite offensive!
    • Oliver Burkeman, "Election 2005: Aggressive and voluble - but the real thing", The Guardian, 21 April 2005, p. 6.
    • Referring to the slogan used by Michael Howard during the 2005 General Election campaign.
  • Why are you asking me about this, I don't care, it's a Welsh situation, I'm a national politician.
    • To a journalist from the Western Mail on being asked questions about Wales during the 2005 general election.
  • Where do they get these amateurs from? You're an amateur mate, go get on your bus, go home.
    • To a journalist from the Western Mail on being asked questions about Wales during the 2005 general election.
  • Bugger off - get on your bus, you amateur.
    • To a journalist from the Western Mail on being asked questions about Wales during the 2005 general election.
  • Oooh, I'm scared. Go ahead and put it in your paper.
    • To a journalist from the Western Mail on being asked questions about Wales during the 2005 general election.
  • Look I’ve got my old pledge card a bit battered and crumpled, we said we’d provide more turches churches teachers and we have.I can remember when people used to say the Japanese are better than us,the Germans are better than us,the French are better than us well it’s great to be able to say we’re better than them.I think Mr Kennedy well we all congratulate on his baby and the Tories are you remembering what I’m remembering boom and bust negative equity, remember Mr Howard,I mean are you thinking what I’m thinking I’m remembering,it’s all a bit wonky isn’t it?
    • Ben Macintyre, "Ducking and diving, ageing prize-fighter still fears the suckerpunch", The Times, 13 April 2005, p. 23.
    • A statement made in Witham, Essex during the 2005 general election.
  • I notice from the papers and on television today that the Tories have now brought in a new person to get people to vote Tory, and I could not help noticing that the person is named, as I saw on the website, "Mr. Tosser". I do not know which person on the Front Bench this man is modelled on, but let me tell the right hon. Gentleman that I always thought that his party was full of them, and that is why they have lost three elections.
    • House of Commons, 29 November 2006,


  • I don't think language is his first language.
  • He couldn't wear a tie and a belt in the same day or he'd turn into sausages.

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