After months of everyone in the cabinet hiding their condition from one other, each convinced that they alone were struggling with a shameful secret, there was great relief in cabinet meeting today when it emerged that every one of them caught syphilis after nights of passion with Rupert Murdoch during the election campaign.
According to uncorroborated reports it was Ken Clarke, in a fit of bad temper brought on by an itch in the unmentionables and an adverse reaction to antibiotics, who finally burst out in the middle of a cabinet meeting, "God damn that diseased Aussie!"
One civil servant who witnessed the extraordinary scenes in the cabinet room said, "That was it. Once Ken half admitted to it, Theresa May – who I had noticed had been looking worried all morning – said 'You too?' and that just opened the floodgates. It turned out everyone in the room had it. William Hague started crying when he realised he wasn't the only one. With relief you understand."
Cameron was said to have maintained a 'dignified silence' throughout the confessions, though he was seen surreptitiously making notes when Liam Fox spoke about his success treating symptoms using a medical kit he 'borrowed' from a soldier while visiting Afghanistan.
Syphilis is usually an easily treatable disease but the 'Murdoch strain', as doctors are already calling it, is showing resistance to everything that science has to offer. "It's the body's worst nightmare, and that includes Vince Cable's body," explained the doctor treating Vince Cable, who has allowed his doctor to waive confidentiality on the condition that his name be mentioned every other sentence. "It's horrible. Slowly but surely it takes over everything, even in someone as strong and virile as Vince Cable. In the end there will be nothing left but syphilis."
A spokesman for Rupert Murdoch said, "These baseless accusations are exactly the kind of thing we expect to hear from the bloated, overfunded BBC. Do they really have nothing better to do than investigate the sex lives of British politicians?" When it was pointed out that it was not the BBC making the accusations, and that it was more usually the Murdoch press investigating the sex lives of politicians, the spokesman said he would return with a better defence tomorrow. "Any journalist printing anything in the meantime," he said as he left the room, "Will have the entire armory of the Murdoch empire focused on destroying them. Or a night with Rupert. Whichever will be cheaper for him."