Signs the cash-strapped cabinet are beginning to suffer the strain emerged yesterday, after transport secretary Philip Hammond was forced to travel by London bus. Aides have reported he has been left shaking, dribbling, and feeling like he 'has been in Apocalypse Now'.
At approximately 11:45 am Monday morning, an optimistic Hammond boarded the bus on route 242 at Tottenham Court Road, headed to Hackney for a political event. The bus stop proved tricky for the secretary, populated by people coughing, chewing and 'standing around'. Hammond spent the entire ten minute wait with a handkerchief over his mouth and nose, shuffling nervously from foot to foot.
Immediately Hammond faced his first obstacle – there was only only seat left, and upon that seat lay a puddle of crisps, but in confusion he sat down anyway. Eye witnesses described Hammond as 'grimacing like a baboon.'
Soon after sitting down, Hammond was accosted by an incoherent drunk, shouting about how he 'used to be somebody'. It was ex-leader of the liberal democrats Charles Kennedy.
Frustratingly, the minister's repeated requests to the driver to 'put on radio 3' fell on deaf ears.
Hammond also reportedly held his feet aloft the entire journey, not wanting to tarnish his shoes with the mysterious brown stain on the bus floor.
Alarmed by the violent swear words blasting out of a neighbour's iPod, Hammond began to feel nauseas and panicked. He never made it all the way to Hackney, instead called for an emergency evacuation by helicopter, by which he was whisked back to St Stephen's Club for a nice cup of cocoa, blanket, 30 year old single malt, a Xanax, and the calming embrace of Cbeebies.
The transport secretary has reportedly vowed to never use public transport again, and has told his driver 'if you ever leave me, I'll kill myself.'
This isn't the first time Hammond has suffered from this kind of experience. After a 2005 campaign trail visit to a McDonalds, Hammond was physically sick, without actually having eaten any food. He reportedly experienced horrific 'flashbacks' to the event many years later.
Still too traumatised to talk to reporters about yesterday's transport ordeal, Hammond has been found gurgling and muttering about his mother ever since.
Ed Miliband used the incident to attack the government as 'out of touch'. A cabinet spokesperson responded to the criticism with 'We are perfectly happy to reach out and touch our constituents. But only with gloves.'