John Prescott

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I mean are you thinking what I’m thinking I’m remembering, it’s all a bit wonky isn’t it?

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 program 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.
    • As quoted in "Prescott points buses to fast lane" by Paul Brown, in The Guardian (6 June 1997), p. 10.
  • The Green Belt is a Labour achievement — and we mean to build on it.
    • Remark on BBC Radio (19 January 1998), quoted in "Passing Comment", The Times (31 January 1998)
  • 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?
  • 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 ...
    • As quoted in "Prescott triumphs on slippery slopes of syntax" by Simon Hoggart (10 June 2004); Hansard rendered this as "The document was released in February. A great deal of fuss was made that it had not been given a public release, but 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.
    • Speech in the House of Commons (13 July 2004); Hansard, House of Commons, 6th Series, vol. 423, col. 1268
  • 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?
    • A statement made in Witham, Essex during the 2005 general election, as quoted in "Ducking and diving, ageing prize-fighter still fears the sucker punch" by Ben Macintyre, The Times (13 April 2005), p. 23
  • 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!
    • Referring to the slogan used by Michael Howard during the 2005 General Election campaign, as quoted in "Election 2005: Aggressive and voluble — but the real thing" by Oliver Burkeman, in The Guardian (21 April 2005), p. 6
  • 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.
    • Statement in the House of Commons (29 November 2006)

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