Demands are growing at Westminster for the withdrawal of life-support from Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne.
Osborne, who is rarely seen in public and is believed to have been in a persistent vegetative state since his March Budget, is no longer responding to human contact. On Tuesday, in his absence, junior Treasury Minister Chloe Smith received a mauling from Newsnight's Jeremy Paxman trying to defend Osborne's U-turn on fuel duty.
'As we have long suspected,' said one Westminster insider, 'George is brain dead and should be put out of his misery.'
And in The Mail on Sunday, Conservative MP Nadine Dorries accused Osborne of cowardice.
'Among MPs,' she wrote, 'he is now known as the 'Submarine Chancellor'. At the first sign of trouble, he slips quietly under the surface.'
'Actually, it's 'Yellow Submarine', said one MP.