2022 in political quotes – from cake ambushes to tractors | Politics News

To say 2022 was an eventful year in British politics is certainly an understatement.

Luckily (or unluckily), politicians gave us some memorable quotes to remind us of all the year’s tumultuous events.

From the bizarre to the poignant and the outrageous, here they are:


Boris Johnson: “Categorically nobody told me it was against the rules.”

The year kicked off with partygate (remember that?) and the then-PM Boris Johnson denying he was warned a drinks event held in the Downing Street garden during the May 2020 lockdown could breach COVID rules.

Conor Burns: “It was not a pre-meditated, organised party. He was, in a sense, ambushed with a cake.”

Mr Johnson’s faithful ally and minister Conor Burns took the biscuit for the best defence of his boss attending a birthday party held for him by his wife Carrie Johnson inside Downing Street during the first lockdown.

David Davis: “In the name of God, go.”

The senior Tory and former cabinet minister told the Commons he had spent months defending the prime minister but after Mr Johnson’s reaction to the Sue Gray report, the PM should step down.

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PM told ‘in the name of God, go’


Boris Johnson: “As Rafiki in The Lion King says, change is good, and change is necessary even though it’s tough.”

After five of Mr Johnson’s key staff quit in 24 hours, the PM quoted a scene from the famous Disney film in which Simba is fleeing his pride after his father’s death, orchestrated by his evil uncle Scar, with Rafiki the mandrill convincing Simba to return and take his rightful place as king.


Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe: “What’s happened now should have happened six years ago.”

The British-Iranian woman imprisoned in Iran since 2016 on allegations of spying made her first public comments after she was finally released when the UK repaid an outstanding debt to Tehran of £393.8m for an arms deal cancelled in the 1970s.

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‘I was told I’d be freed many, many times’

Pete Wishart: “No prime minister could possibly survive being fined for criminality for the very rules that prime minister set. You’d be finished.”

SNP MP Pete Wishart quizzed Boris Johnson at the Commons’ powerful Liaison Committee after police said 20 fines were to be issued for COVID breaches of rules the PM introduced.

Mr Johnson refused to give a “running commentary” and was fined the following month, but clung onto his job for a further three months.


Neil Parish: “Funnily enough it was tractors I was looking at.”

The Conservative MP for Tiverton and Honiton, who resigned after he was caught watching pornography in the House of Commons, said he accidentally found the website while trying to watch a video on tractors.


Oliver Dowden: “I have never purchased a tin of baked beans in my life.”

The then-Conservative Party chairman was being quizzed about the cost of living crisis when he revealed he had never bought baked beans. He did say it was because he has never liked them.

Boris Johnson: “Who’s Lorraine?”

The PM was widely mocked for not knowing who ITV host Lorraine Kelly was during an interview. GMB’s Susanna Reid finished her interview and said Lorraine was waiting to talk to him but he appeared to not know who she is.


Chris Pincher: “Last night I drank far too much. I’ve embarrassed myself and other people.”

Tory deputy chief whip Chris Pincher was forced to step down after he embroiled the government in a sex scandal following reports he drunkenly groped two men at a private London club.

Without addressing the allegations, he apologised for drinking too much and had the Tory whip removed but remained as an independent MP in his Staffordshire seat, where the former Tory Tamworth Council leader later said he had been “groped” by Mr Pincher twice in 2005 and 2006 – which Mr Pincher denies.

Conservative MP Chris Pincher
Boris Johnson’s handling of the Chris Pincher scandal proved to be his downfall

Jesse Norman: “For you to prolong this charade by remaining in office not only insults the electorate, and the tens of thousands of people who support, volunteer, represent and campaign for our party; it makes a decisive change of government at the next election much more likely. That is potentially catastrophic for this country.”

Transport minister at the time, former Boris fan Jesse Norman handed in his stinging resignation letter to the then-PM following the Sue Gray report into lockdown parties held at Downing Street.

Sir Keir Starmer: “He’s gameplaying so much he thinks he’s on Love Island.

“The problem is, prime minister, I’m reliably informed that contestants who give the public the ick get booted out.”

The Labour leader used his weekly PMQs slot on 15 June to attack Boris Johnson over the economy as he accused him of not doing anything about reducing inflation.


Sir Keir Starmer: “Is this the first recorded case of the sinking ships fleeing the rat?”

“Charge of the lightweight brigade.”

The Labour leader used the growing number of Tory cabinet resignations to call for Mr Johnson to step down, in one of his more colourful PMQs.

Ian Blackford: “I recently compared the prime minister to Monty Python’s Black Knight. In fact, he is more like the dead parrot.”

The SNP’s Westminster leader used the same PMQs to hit out at Mr Johnson following cabinet resignations.

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SNP’s Monty Python jibe at PM

Tim Loughton: “Are there any circumstances in which you will resign?”

Showing further signs of exasperation with Mr Johnson within the Tory party, Conservative MP Tim Loughton said what it appears many other Tories were thinking.

Tim Loughton: “Well clearly Boris has downed the whisky and turned the revolver on Michael Gove. Who would have believed it?”

Mr Loughton then told Sky News Michael Gove had offered Mr Johnson the “metaphorical bottle of whisky and the revolver” after the PM sacked his close friend for telling him to quit after Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid resigned, kicking off the downfall of Mr Johnson.

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PM blames ‘herd instinct’ as he resigns

Boris Johson: “As we’ve seen at Westminster, the herd instinct is powerful and when the herd moves, it moves.

“My friends, in politics, no one is remotely indispensable.

“I want you to know how sad I am to be giving up the best job in the world, but them’s the breaks.”

Following days of ministerial resignations, Mr Johnson eventually said he was stepping down and gave a resignation speech that had people Googling the phrase “them’s the breaks” – another way of saying “that’s the way things turn out”.

Liz Truss: “Ready to hit the ground from day one.”

Kicking off her leadership bid after Boris Johnson announced he was stepping down, Liz Truss sent out a tweet which missed out a key word from the saying “hit the ground running” – prompting much mockery.

Boris Johnson: “Hasta la vista, baby.”

Signing off his final PMQs, Mr Johnson used Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Terminator catchphrase, leaving MPs questioning whether he was leaving the door open for a possible comeback.

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Johnson’s ‘hasta la vista, baby’ moment


Liz Truss: “But actually what needs to happen is more … more graft. It’s not a popular message.”

As Liz Truss became the Tory leadership frontrunner, a leaked recording from 2019, when she was chief secretary to the Treasury, revealed her unflattering view of British workers.


Sky News political editor Beth Rigby: “You are prepared to be unpopular, aren’t you?”

Liz Truss: “Yes. Yes, I am.”

Three days before the disastrous mini-budget, Ms Truss claimed she did not care if she was unpopular as she hinted at her plan to deliver growth and reduce energy bills.

Angela Rayner: “Liz Truss even crashed the pork market. Now that. Is. A. Disgrace.”

Labour’s deputy leader used her closing speech at the party’s conference to take a dig at Liz Truss and the economic turmoil by referencing the then PM’s notorious 2014 speech about pork markets which has since become an internet meme.

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‘I’ll be in Beijing opening up new pork markets’

Australian TV presenters: “And we have no idea who this is… maybe a local dignitary or minor royal.”

Turning up at the Queen’s funeral 13 days after becoming prime minister, Liz Truss failed to be recognised by two Australian TV presenters.


Liz Truss: “I will not allow the anti-growth coalition to hold us back.”

The PM used her closing speech at the Tory conference to attack anyone standing in the way of the Conservative Party’s agenda, including Labour, “militant” unions, “Brexit deniers”, Extinction Rebellion and “some of the people we had in the hall earlier” – protesters who disrupted her address.

King Charles: “So you’ve come back again? Dear, oh dear.”

The King was overheard greeting Liz Truss at her first weekly audience with him following another day of turmoil in the markets after the disastrous mini-budget.

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King Charles meets Truss: ‘Dear oh dear’

Penny Mordaunt: “The prime minister is not under a desk.”

The Commons leader, asked by Labour MP Stella Creasy where Liz Truss was, confirmed the PM was not “cowering under her desk” as suggested.

Liz Truss: “I am a fighter and not a quitter.”

The then-PM defied calls from Labour to resign after having U-turned on her economic plans during PMQs – five days before she resigned.

Suella Braverman: “Guardian-reading tofu-eating wokerati.”

The Home Secretary criticised MPs who voted against measures that would allow police to deal more quickly with activists after Just Stop Oil protesters blocked part of the M25 for more than a day.

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Braverman bashes ‘tofu-eating wokerati’

Craig Whittaker: “I am f***ing furious and I don’t give a f*** anymore.”

Following chaos in the voting lobbies of parliament over a vote on fracking, which was seen as a possible confidence vote in the government, the deputy chief whip fumed before resigning.

Charles Walker: “To all those people who put Liz Truss into No 10, I hope it was worth it.”

Speaking in the House of Commons lobby after the chaos surrounding the vote on fracking, when whips were accused of bullying MPs, Tory MP Charles Walker did not hold back on his views.

Krishnan Guru-Murthy: “What a c***.”

Channel 4 presenter Krishnan Guru-Murthy was heard on a live feed, that was off air, reacting to Tory MP Steve Baker telling him his question about recently-resigned Liz Truss was stupid. He was taken off air for a short period in response.


Andy Drummond: “I’m looking forward to him eating a kangaroo’s penis. Quote me. You can quote me that.”

The chairman of Newmarket Conservatives in West Suffolk, where Matt Hancock is an MP, gave his damning verdict on the former health secretary appearing on a reality TV show while he should have been working.

Matt Hancock: “Survival in the jungle is a good metaphor for the world I work in.”

Appearing in a teaser video the day before going on I’m a Celeb, Mr Hancock said he did not think the jungle would be that different to parliament.

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Matt Hancock: ‘I messed up’

Suella Braverman: “Let me invite my colleagues…if there’s anything they want to add.”

Asked by fellow Tory Tim Loughton how a 16-year-old orphan escaping a war and persecution “in east Africa” with a sibling in the UK could arrive in the UK safely and legally to claim asylum, the home secretary could not answer.

Ms Braverman kept saying they could claim asylum once they got to the UK but did not seem to know how they would get to the UK, if not by small boat. Home Office permanent secretary Matthew Rycroft then admitted there are some countries asylum seekers cannot get to the UK safely and legally from.

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Braverman struggles to answer asylum question

Stephen Kerr: “I can confirm I am not a potato.”

The Scottish Conservatives’ education spokesman clarified he was not a root vegetable after the Scottish Parliament tweeted about a gene-editing debate and seemingly branded him a “potato with more vitamin C than lemon”.


Sir Keir Starmer: “As ever, the blancmange prime minister wobbles.”

The Labour leader likened Rishi Sunak to the milky pudding during PMQs after mandatory housebuilding targets were dropped under pressure from Tory MPs, in yet another U-turn forced by backbenchers.


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