In the latest in the series of sinkholes mysteriously appearing all around the world, the Westminster houses of Parliament today sank out of site as an enormous crater opened up beside the Thames. Experts believe that the current flooding has eroded the chalk bedrock underpinning a "plug" of London clay that was supporting the building.
Recent weeks have seen similar incidents in Kentucky, where a car museum disappeared into a 40 foot hole; High Wycombe, where a car disappeared into a 30 foot deep sinkhole in a driveway; and a 160 foot hole in the Derbyshire Peak District.
Rupert Treadwell, spokesman for the Department of the Environment, said that the task of repairing the hole would simply have to wait its turn. "We currently have an epidemic of holes in this country. It's been estimated that potholes on British roads take up a total area of 295 square miles - more than twice the size of the Isle of Wight. Budgets are tight, and we have to deal with repairs on a strictly first reported, first repaired basis."
Mr Treadwell also pointed out that nobody has yet reported the incident on the Government's website. "If anyone is concerned about this particular hole, they should go to http://www.gov.uk/report-pothole and register it there. We will get round to fixing it in due course. Though, to be fair, the potholes on my street haven't been mended yet, and it's at least 6 years since I logged them."
Mayor of London Boris Johnson issued a statement this morning offering to rebuild Parliament on an island in the Thames Estuary. "Of course, it would be a lot easier not to replace it at all. Quite frankly, nobody seems to have missed the 650 MPs and 760 Lords who were in Parliament when it happened. I would be quite happy to step into the breach and serve as Honorary Dictator."