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If I had to choose between being the Sports Minister or a Chelsea supporter, I wouldn't be the Sports Minister - Tony Banks

This Darth Vader of politics ruined my prison career, and I must confess to the odd unchristian feeling of thoroughly enjoying his current discomfort - John Marriott, former governor of Parkhurst Prison, on Michael Howard

I was not quite sure what to make of Ann Widdecombe's assertion that I am dangerous stuff and that there is something of the night in me, but I gained the strong impression that her words were not intended as a compliment - Michael Howard, former Home Secretary

You might as well have a war on tables - Will Self, novelist, describing President Clinton's war on drugs as `absurd'

Many people of my generation and older still cannot help thinking of the arts as a luxury, a frippery or an extra. Yet more people work in the arts than work in the steel, coal and car industries combined - Melvyn Bragg, arts pundit

I hate the saintly tag. I want to dive into the shower with the footballers one day, and just put an end to all that saintly business - Delia Smith, TV cook and Norwich City director

I regret this new informality. The Cabinet is the highest institution of our government, for heaven's sake, not a tennis club - Sir Charles Powell, former private secretary to Margaret Thatcher, on Tony Blair's decision to use first names only at Cabinet meetings