Sources close to the Conservative Party today reiterated claims that Ann Widdecombe was not in fact anorexic. In refuting the claims, the way would now seem clear for Miss Widdecombe to stand for the Tory Leadership.
"We may as well have someone who's pug-ugly, too," said one senior Tory. "I mean no one with any semblance of intelligence is going to vote for us, so we may as well woo the ugly vote."
It is a strategy that has worked well in the past. In 1979, Mrs Thatcher gained power by appealing to folk with pensioners' hair-dos and mildly hairy upper lips. And in 1990, John Major retained power for the Tories by inspiring those totally devoid of personality to vote Conservative.
Miss Widderombe's office estimates that more than seventy percent of the British electorate are pug-ugly.
"We conducted secret research upon Britain's high streets," said a Widdecombe spokesperson yesterday. "And almost everyone we approached who was like the back end of a bus expressed the likelihood of voting for Ann Widdecombe in a general election should she challenge for leadership of the Tory Party."
Meanwhile, supporters of Kenneth Clarke remained unconcerned. "We think our strategy of appealing to the boring old fart endemic to every Tory is the way forward."