Labour leader Ed Miliband is said to be ‘disappointed’ after waking up in hospital to find that doctors have been unable to remove his Balls.
'I'm crestfallen,' admitted Mr Miliband. 'My leadership has been suffering from aggressive, griping Balls for some time. I thought that surgical intervention would help, but scans of my party headquarters have shown that the malignant Balls is still there, ready to finish me off at any minute.'
Mr Miliband's elder brother David also suffered from an acute attack of leadership problems last year, leading to suggestions among medical experts that the condition is hereditary. 'I'm pretty sure it's not, though,' said one unnamed shadow Cabinet member. 'Our suspicion is that Ed has been a victim of passive leadership, which can be just as dangerous as doing the job yourself.'
There was some good news for Mr Miliband, who has responded very well to a sudden injection of Murdoch in recent weeks, which experts say will have extended his prognosis in the short-term. He insisted he would be back at work 'very soon' and that his problematic Balls would in no way limit his ability to do his job. 'I'm not going to let Balls beat me,' he said bravely. 'But we've all got to go some time, so I'm going to live life to the full. I've already sent off for tickets to the Labour Party conference in September, if they'll have me.'