Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group has launched an audacious bid to buy the Bank of England.
It was announced earlier this week that the Virgin Group bid to buy struggling bank Northern Rock had been overlooked by the Government in favour of nationalising the failing business.
This move came after the Government lent £50bn in money and guarantees to Northern Rock last summer after the credit crunch in North America spread globally.
Now it seems as though Sir Richard is attempting to buy Northern Rock through the back door.
Sources close to the coiffured billionaire suggest that his offer was made to Alistair Darling and Gordon Brown late on Wednesday night in the back-room of the Rose and Crown pub in Wandsworth.
It seems that although the offer was only half-serious, Messrs Darling and Brown have been looking to off-load the Bank of England for the some time now, and replace it with the Bank of Scotland.
This deal would see the Bank of England, along with the National Debt of England and Northern Rock, being taken over by the Virgin Group. The Bank of Scotland would then be moved, in its entirety, to London, where the existing English currency would be removed from circulation, and replaced with those Scottish £20 notes which are so hard to counterfeit.
The move would also see the National Debt (estimated to be around £500bn) be written off, and the debt assumed by the Virgin Group. Apparently, Sir Richard feels he will repay this within 10 years, by a mixture of more aggressive sales policies from the Group's Consumer divisions.
The landlord of the Rose and Crown confirmed "Yes, they were here. Branson seemed like he'd been drinking all day, and was obviously the worse for it when he came in. The other two gents were Scottish, and didn't drink much, although they did ply him with booze until gone midnight."
Branson's offer for "The Old Lady" is apparently £50bn, two packets of Cheese and Onion crisps, half a cider and black, three packets of dry-roasted peanuts and two large doner kebabs.
Keen city observers were quick to point out that this represented a very good deal for Branson, and they thought that the two statesmen would hold out for "at least a cheese and tomato pizza and a can of coke."
A spokesman for the Government declined to comment, saying merely "I'm afraid I've been unable to contact either the Prime Minister or the Chancellor to confirm this story, as they are both asleep in the front room of No.10 with the television on. The Chancellor is resting on what appears to be a kebab."