Communities secretary Eric Pickles was this afternoon being cooled with buckets of seawater by tory activists from the Torbay area who had heard of his distressed condition after being washed up onto the picturesque Oddicombe beach earlier today.
It is thought that a freak wave had tossed him off his bariatric lilo after he had entered the sea around 2pm. Pickles, who was touring the southwest on political engagements, was described as 'massively over-nourished' by a local vet who attended the scene earlier.
A rescue operation is being coordinated by Conservative head office in conjunction with the coastguard and Balfour Beatty. Meanwhile, holidaymakers and families have been asked to avoid the local area in order to minimise distress to children. A quarter of a mile exclusion zone is being set up as it is believed that Pickles may have had a particularly heavy lunch prior to the accident with 'severe gastric tremors' being reported.