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Tuesday, September 7, 1999 Published at 17:36 GMT 18:36 UK


UK Politics

Alan Clark's life in quotes

Alan Clark will be rembered for his wit and indiscret remarks

Tory politician Alan Clark will be remembered more for his frank and entertaining diaries and his outspoken remarks than for his time as a minister. Here is a selection of the most memorable.

On Thatcher ...

Mr Clark once admitted finding Margaret Thatcher "attractive" but added: "I didn't want to jump on her."

Asked whether he liked the prime minister he served under, he replied: "Like her? She is not there to be liked. She's a force of nature."

On his colleagues ...

"Cecil Parkinson loathed me - particularly because I used four-letter words in front of the PM which he thought monstrously intimate," Mr Clark wrote in his famous diaries.

He once said to his Cabinet colleague Sir Geoffrey Howe, attired in a dinner jacket: "Bring us three Bucks Fizzes and keep the change." Turning to Margaret Thatcher he explained: "The head waiter wants to know what you'd like to drink."

He once called Kenneth Clarke "A pudgy puffball." As for Douglas Hurd, he said he "might as well have a corncob up his arse". While he dismissed Michael Heseltine as the kind of person "who bought his own furniture".

On power ...

"I never put the phone down without getting a little high. I have never been a junkie so it is wrong to pinch their language.

"It's not main-lining, just taking little snorts. It's the interplay between power and vanity."

On the royals ...

"The Queen is all right and Princess Diana is a goddess, but most of the rest are so awful it is quite a work to describe their vulgarity."

On vegetarianism ...

Mrs Thatcher: "You eat meat don't you?"

Alan Clark: "No, I do not, prime minister."

Mrs Thatcher: "Well, you wear leather shoes, don't you?"

Alan Clark: "I am sure, prime minister, you would not wish to see your ministers walking around in plastic footwear ... "

On Eton ...

"An early introduction to human cruelty, treachery and extreme physical hardship". Whereas Oxford was simply "a waste of time and petrol".

On style ...

When told that American Mafia boss John Gotti wore $2,000 suits, Clark said: "I didn't know it was possible to buy one so cheaply."

On the law ...

After being fined £650 for driving through a police security cordon in London he said: "Everyone in public life ought to be arrested at least once. It's an education."

On the IRA ...

"The only solution is to kill 600 people in one night. Let the UN and Bill Clinton and everyone else make a scene - and it is over for 20 years."

On Tory constituency associations ...

"I find most of them boring, petty, malign, clumsily conspiratorial and parochial to a degree that cannot be surpassed in any part of the United Kingdom."

And on sex ...

In his diaries, Mr Clark confided:

"Yesterday I travelled down by train, and a plump young lady came into my compartment at Waterloo. She was not wearing a bra, and her delightful globes bounced prominently ... I gave her a huge grin; I couldn't help it."

"Bonking on a train? I honestly don't think the public would mind. I don't see how it could."

"Girls have to be succulent, and that means under 25."

Finally, his wife, Caroline Jane, on his infidelities ...

She remarked, after the details of his seduction of a South African judge's wife and two daughters hit the press: "If you bed people of below-stairs class, they will go to the papers."



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