A confirmed outbreak of the extremely contagious Foot & Mouth disease on a farm in Surrey could be 'the straw that breaks the camels back' for Prime Minister Gordon Brown, say political analysts.
Sixty cattle have so far been identified as having the disease on the farm at Wanborough near Guildford, the first reported cases since 2001, when more than 6 million animals had to be destroyed, and Mr Brown might just be "at the end of his tether" after a terrible start to his tenure as PM.
Thus far, a terrorist attack at Glasgow airport, widespread flooding on an unprecedented scale, being forced to meet US President George Bush and now Foot & Mouth, amount to, what must rate as the worst period in the Scot's life, and it's thought he may be ready to resign the post.
Foot & Mouth, which is almost totally harmless to humans - only three human deaths from it have ever been reported - starts when government ministers put their feet in their mouths with rash outbursts, spin, lies and other forms of misinformation. When the illness quickly spreads to the animal population, as it always does, however, it becomes curable only by death.
Mr Brown cut short his annual jaunt to Devon, where he was staying in a caravan, to return to Downing Street.
A Labour spokesman said he had "one or two headaches".