With the economy stagnating and nothing left to privatise, concerns are growing that the Government is having to resort to selling advertising space on senior ministers in order to make ends meet.
Political researchers' suspicions were raised after David Cameron's recent “calm down dear” remark in the Commons coincided with a large unscheduled tax payment from insurance company esure. This, combined with the hitherto unexplained "OXO" motif on the chancellor's red box at the last budget, seems to have confirmed the possibility that the government front bench may be benefiting from commercial sponsorship.
Prime Minister Cameron, dressed informally in a giant cigarette costume bearing the Marlboro logo, was quick to refute the allegations, insisting his remarks were merely "careless banter, as light as the mildest mellow-smoking Virginia tobacco".
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg also denied the accusation in a Newsnight interview, but only succeeded in raising suspicions further by greeting Jeremy Paxman 'Wassup!!!' and going on to describe the proposed Alternative Vote system as 'finger-lickin' good', and George Osborne told an interviewer on Five Live that economic policy would continue to 'follow the bear' market.
Fuel was further added to the fire when Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice Kenneth Clarke was challenged by the opposition over his links with a major tobacco company. When asked whether he was happy with this arrangement as he emerged from the newly named Emirates House of Commons, he simply lit one of his trademark cigars and replied: ‘happiness is a cigar called Hamlet.’
Leader of the opposition Ed Miliband told reporters 'we would never do this sort of thing, even though some Labour members think we should Just Do It. Harriet Harman has been looking into it for us and we've decided just to stick with the pitiful amounts of funding we get from the unions. We know it doesn't Go Compare to what the Government's getting, but she's tried to increase the amount they give us and they’ve increased contributions a bit. It's the best Harman can get. Simples.'