Amidst news that Greece could start selling uninhabited Greek islands to reduce its growing budget deficit, Alistair Darling suggested today that the UK could follow suit by offering the Isle of Wight for international auction. At a speech in the City of London, the Chancellor commented that the Isle of Wight - a safe Conservative seat - could raise over a billion pounds for the Exchequer, and is considering a pre-election sale. 'The Isle of Wight is a prime piece of real estate, and would be ideal for an American business executive or Saudi Arabian oil sheikh looking for 148 sq miles of England.' Responding to a question about the current economic climate limiting potential buyers, the Chancellor commented that he was also considering a sale of Canvey Island in Essex - which is currently served by an independent MP - for a knockdown price before May 6. 'Investors would not only get a picturesque chunk of Britain, but the knowledge that they have helped fund more Media Studies places at former polytechnic universities, a reduction in youth unemployment and Fred Goodwin's pension.'
The Conservatives strongly oppose the government's plan, but refused to deny speculation that the Outer Hebrides and the Isle of Anglesey could go under a Conservative government.