In a startling about turn, flame haired beauty, Charles Kennedy, Leader of The Liberal Democratic Party, has resigned his post, admitting to excessive Scottishness and a desire to spend more time with his Andy Stewart record collection, as the main reasons for his shock departure from the relative obscurity of sideaways, slippery, House of Commons benches.
Long suspected of being a Scotsman, Kennedy had consistently denied allegations of his fondness for shortbread, haggis and calendars featuring wee doggies with tartan coats.
Pressure had mounted recently, with close colleagues having spotted him laughing at the antics of Wee Jimmy Krankie appearing in a cameo role on The French and Saunders Christmas Special. Following transmission of said entertainment extravaganza, Kennedy had taken to uttering Wee Jimmy's catchphrase of Fandabbydozy at totally inappropriate junctures, such as when asked to comment on Israeli Prime Minister Sharon's recent health problems and their possible impact on the Middle East situation.
Concern had increased as rumours circulated of Kennedy seeking an appointment with Harley Street Plastic Surgeon, Dr Hulpmaboab to enquire about a height reduction operation. Kennedy, a fine figure of a man at six foot tall, had allegedly asked about having at least six inches lopped off, having already taken to wearing trousers slightly too short exposing white sports socks (three for a pound) and the tops of his elastic sided, scuffed, black shoes.
It is believed that fellow LibDem MPs had reached breaking point with Kennedy and had summoned him to a meeting on January 1st in a last ditch attempt to save Kennedy from himself and limit further damage to the Party. Those gathered were dismayed however, when Kennedy burst into the meeting carrying a lump of coal, his chin covered in crumbs of black bun and raucously singing Auld Lang Syne dressed head to toe in tartan and wearing no underpants.
Bonny Charlie, sought to assure colleagues that his unclad nethers were merely the result of a problem in being short of a cloth for boiling the festive season's clootie dumpling. The meeting closed with personal assurances from Kennedy that he would cause the party no further embarassment should the wind blow high or the wind blow low and that he would be first in the queue at Marks and Spencer's January sale to acquire some replacement underwear.
Events took a dramatic turn however, on Thursday last, when Kennedy's former press secretary and now, Chief Political Correspondent for ITN, Daisy McAndrew alerted him to her plans to reveal his secrets. Ms McAndrew shocked Charlie Boy as she related, how details were to be broadcast of his secret stash of Tunnocks Tea Cakes, crates of Irn Bru and his installation of a deep fat fryer in his private office at The House Of Commons.
Kennedy knew the game was up as she reminded him of how all LibDem policy making had been based on ideas Mr Kennedy had personally promulgated, following all night sessions looking at the pictures in his collection of Broons and Oor Wullie annuals.
At a hastily convened press conference, designed to scupper Ms McAndrew's scoop, Kennedy put on a brave face as he admitted his personal torment at attempting to conceal his secret vice.
The assembled gathering, were however, taken aback at Kennedy's, not infrequent, use of the phrase "Hoots, och aye the noo", his headbutting antics at anyone who dared to question his resolve to overcome his difficulties and with his face emblazoned in blue & white stage make up depicting the well known filmic sequence of Mel Gibson's Braveheart call for Freedom, it was all over.
Kennedy's political career in tatters, he gainfully sought to mark a proferred letter of resignation with a spidery, scrawled X and with a swish of his plaid shawl he was gone.
Ironically for Kennedy, it is thought he will be replaced by openly out Scotsman, Sir Menzies Campbell. Party apparatiks are, however, confident, that Campbell's fondness for spotless white Y-fronts, bright Harris Tweed jackets and not so much a whisp of a ginger hair, that they can march right on, taking The High Road to success and maybe even getting there, Afore Ye.