This list was David Boothroyd's idea, inspired by Tony Blair's 1990 Labour conference speech as shadow employment secretary, when he misplaced a page of his text and looked 'desperately lost'
1. Benjamin Disraeli
First speech in the Commons, 1837. "I will sit down now, but the time will come when you will hear me." Thanks to David Boothroyd.
2. Neil Kinnock
Commons speech on Westland, 1986, which failed to wound Margaret Thatcher let alone bring her down, although she had misled the House.
3. Bill Clinton
Nominating Michael Dukakis at 1988 Democratic convention. Supposed chance for young unknown to shine, but half-an-hour later, "In closing…" prompted sarcastic cheers.
Dave Brown on David Cameron
Dave Brown on David Cameron
1/11 4 March 2016
Boris Johnson campaigns for Brexit
2/11 20 January 2016
Cameron's response to Tata Steel job cuts
3/11 5 January 2016
Cameron's reaction to Saudi Arabia executions
4/11 3 December 2015
Cameron called the opponents of military action in Syria "terrorist sympathisers"
5/11 2 December 2015
Cameron and the Syria bombing vote
6/11 19 November 2015
Cameron moves toward a second vote on bombing Syria
7/11 21 October 2015
Xi Jinping is lauded at a state banquet as British steelworkers lose their jobs, largely as a result of cheap Chinese steel imports
8/11 8 October 2015
Tory conference responds to Cameron’s keynote speech
9/11 6 October 2014
Clegg attempts to distance himself from Cameron
10/11 27 June 2014
Cameron and EU re-negotiation
11/11 1 December 2012
Cameron, Murdoch and the Leveson Report
4. Nicolae Ceausescu
Balcony oration, from which he was eventually hustled by a guard, 1989, "wasn't 100 per cent a winner", says Issy Flamel.
5. Michael Portillo
Defence Secretary's "Who dares wins" speech to Tory party conference, 1995. "Ill-judged," he admitted later.
6. Tony Blair
Slow-clapped at the Women's Institute, 2000. He turned helplessly to the chair, hoping she might rescue him. Thumbs down from Toby Brown.
7. Iain Duncan Smith
Tory conference speech, 2003. "The quiet man is here to stay, and he's turning up the volume": 17 standing ovations and two weeks later he was gone, note David Outterside and Toby Brown.
8. David Davis
Leadership campaign speech, Tory conference, 2005. "Lacklustre", the day after David Cameron's sparkling no-notes performance. Nominated by Oliver Kamm.
9. Ed Balls
Red-faced response to George Osborne's 2013 Autumn Statement. From Tim Macgregor.
10. Ed Miliband
Labour conference speech, 2014, delivered from memory, but forgot sections on immigration and the deficit. Nominated by David D (not M).
Next week: Backronyms (such as Ash, Action on Smoking and Health)
Coming soon: Last words.Send your suggestions, and ideas for future Top 10s, to firstname.lastname@example.org
- More about:
- Tony Blair
- David Cameron
- Ed Miliband
- Margaret Thatcher
- Iain Duncan Smith
- Bill Clinton
- Ed Balls
- George Osborne