That was a way of putting it

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January

Sex has never been an act of freedom for me. Robert and I climb into the bath together, but we tend to talk about quantum physics.

Toyah Wilcox, presenter of the 'The Good Sex Guide' on ITV

I am not sure what is meant by those who say that the party should return to "One Nation Conservatism". As far as I can tell by their views on European federalism, such people's creed would be better described as "No Nation Conservatism".

Baroness Thatcher

A British girl has chosen our faith, that's what the fuss is about. I've been to England and I know about the orgies, the drug parties where young people do what this couple chose to do honestly and in keeping with Islam.

Ali Sezal, mayor of Kahramanmaras, home town of 13-year-old Sarah Cook's husband, Musa Komeagac

February

If the Government has been in the dock, the verdict of Scott is guilty - guilty of abuse of power, guilty of misleading Parliament, guilty of deep duplicity.

Paddy Ashdown, Liberal Democrat leader

NBA players are smart enough to know you get the virus from unprotected sex, and we're not going to have unprotected sex on the basketball court.

A player commenting on the return of Earvin "Magic" Johnson, who is HIV-positive, to playing basketball

Most of them are uncivilised and ignorant. They are certainly not cultivated.

Douglas Hurd, former Foreign Secretary, on the new generation of MPs

When he sings it is with the voice of angels. When his feet move you can see God dancing.

Bob Geldof, presenting Michael Jackson with a Brit Award, provoking Jarvis Cocker to a display of mooning

March

Royalty is paid to be dignified. MPs are paid to say what they think. Neither are earning their money.

George Walden, Conservative MP

This is the blackest of farces. The country's primary transport assets are being handed to a man who thinks that British Rail was being run by Communists.

Brian Wilson MP, on rail privatisation

April

It's just a piece of paper.

The Duchess of York, in the Swiss skiing resort of Verbier, on the announcement that she and the Duke of York had agreed to a divorce

I am a West Indian peasant who drifted into this business and who has survived. If I knew the secret, I would bottle it and sell it.

Trevor McDonald, broadcaster

We are lads. We have burgled houses and nicked car stereos, and we like girls and swear and take the piss.

Noel Gallagher, of the rock group Oasis, to 'Melody Maker'

May

I am not a marketing manager for British beef.

Helmut Kohl, asked whether he enjoyed the beef lunch he shared with John Major

France wants you to take part in this great undertaking.

President Jacques Chirac, speaking to both Houses of Parliament on European Monetary Union

[The Queen] deserves better than to be perpetuated as an old-age pensioner about to lose her bungalow.

Brian Sewell, art critic, on a new portrait of the Queen by Antony Williams

June

When I first met Nigel he was 44, feisty and fat. Later I got the hang of the way he organised his life, which was, in essence, based on set meal times.

Therese Lawson on her husband, former Chancellor Lord Lawson, who lost four stone by dieting

People like me were branded, pigeon-holed, a ceiling put on our ambitions.

John Prescott, deputy Labour leader, who failed the 11-plus, attacking Government plans to extend grammar schools

You'll probably want to hide behind the sofa now.

Desmond Lynam to viewers before the penalty shoot-out against Germany in the Euro 96 semi-final

If Gazza had been wearing size 9 boots instead of 81/2 it would have been a goal.

Kevin Keegan on a near miss by Paul Gascoigne in extra time

July

I really don't mind what you're called. You're Mummy.

Prince William to his mother when she raised the possibility that she might lose the title HRH

Impatience with the right to strike is impatience with democracy.

John Monks, TUC

All I do is eat, sleep and train six hours a day, six days a week. Michelle Smith, Ireland's triple gold winner, responds to innuen-do about her astonishing improvement

If I had a daughter I would advise her not to go into politics. It is just too nasty and hurtful.

Clare Short, demoted in Tony Blair's shadow cabinet reshuffle August

I regard Imran Khan as a tre- mendous cricketer.

Ian Botham, asked what he thought about Khan after losing his libel case against him

No coronets and ermine will cover up their roles in dragging British politics lower than the gutter.

Frank Dobson, Labour MP, on Maurice Saatchi and Peter Gummer being made life peers

As soon as she won she started to eat.

Miss Universe official commenting on Alicia Machado, of Venezuela, who won the title and then put on two stone

There is no omnibus edition [of Coronation Street] shown outside the Granada region. That's something - a new policy for a Labour government - it should be shown all over.

Tony Blair, Leader of the Opposition, at Granada TV's studios

September

We have bigger fish to fry and the Kurds are not very big fish.

Senior US official, asked why his government had done nothing to stop the Kurdish civil war before Saddam invaded

If a man is asked in, he must not assume that he has the green light for sex, although a woman who does this should not be surprised if he thinks he does.

Extract from forthcoming Debrett's updated guide to modern etiquette

Women are programmed to love completely, and men are programmed to spread it around. We are fools to think any different.

Beryl Bainbridge, authoress

How could we have believed anything so preposterous?

Peregrine Worsthorne, former 'Sunday Telegraph' editor, recanting on his Cold War view that humanity would have been better dead than red

A six-year-old kissing another six-year-old is unwelcome behaviour.

An education spokeswoman in North Carolina after a boy had been suspended from school for kissing a girl on the cheek

October

I don't want sacrifices, I want justice for the poor.

God, according to Monsignor Kieran Conry, defending 'The Common Good', a pre-election briefing for Catholics

We are at the moment happier than we have been in our lives. It is like falling in love but less complicated, and it is guaranteed to last for ever.

Clare Short and son, Toby Graham, on their reunion after 31 years

I think I have the most right of anybody to my husband's sperm.

Diane Blood, seeking the right to use her deceased husband's sperm without his written permission

I must confess that most of the time I do not understand my own regulations.

Emma Bonino, the European Union Fisheries Commissioner

I was flabbergasted. Not because Trelford fancied her ... but because he was actively wooing her, which seemed to me an incredible folly for, just as on Sunday mornings on the news-stands, it was a competition with me he could not hope to win.

Andrew Neil, former editor of the 'Sunday Times', recalling Donald Trelford's interest in Pamella Bordes

November

He smiles too much, he talks too much, his eyes are glassy, his dentistry is chaotic.

Germaine Greer on Tony Blair

I hope it will be out in time for the abolition.

John Wells, who is writing a book on the history of the House of Lords

I don't know how the Conservatives reckon to have priced up Labour's commitments when they don't appear to have made any commitments.

Nick Harvey, Liberal Democrat spokesman

December

Ah. We have never had a civilised conversation. Shall we try?

Michael Heseltine, Deputy Prime Minister, on finding himself sitting next to the shadow Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook

He is the classic case of two brains and no common sense.

Labour's Brian Wilson, on the resignation of David Willetts

Bollocks the butler speaking. What splendid news about mad cow disease. That explains the last 20 years and I thought I was the one who was barmy. Please leave a spring-like message after the moooooooooooo.

Recorded message on answering machine of Willie Rushton, who died on December 11

I am told that we are all Thatcherites now. My goodness me, never has the road to Damascus been more congested.

Baroness Thatcher

I do not believe in this pairing system. I regard it as organised truancy.

Dennis Skinner, Labour MP, on the Commons voting row

'The complete cessation of military operations will end at

6 o'clock'

IRA statement announcing the end of the 18-month ceasefire received by RTE, the Irish radio and television network, one hour before a bomb exploded in London's Docklands, killing Inan Bashir and John Jefferies

February

'I will continue to eat beef as part of a varied and balanced diet'

Sir Kenneth Calman, Chief Medical Officer, after the Government announced there could be a link between CJD and BSE

'The Chief Medical Officer has made a judgement. He's said he's prepared to die for his government, the first civil servant ever to say that'

Dennis Skinner MP, responding

March

'Why didn't you belt it, son?'

Barbara Southgate, mother of England footballer Gareth, who failed to score in the penalty shoot-out in the Euro 96 semi-final against Germany

June

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