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.



  • There are, I believe, two grounds for rejecting the EMS. The first is economic. It is based, I believe, upon a false analysis of the cause of inflation and the lack of growth, which are essential components in the creation of unemployment. The second ground is political. It is equally as important as the first, and is not simply a political aspect. Acceptance of the EMS is a first essential step towards economic and monetary union, which is at the heart of a federal Europe.
    • Speech in the House of Commons (29 November 1978)
  • 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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