The Tory stalwart politician Ken Clarke spontaneously combusted during a business luncheon in London this afternoon.
The Shadow Business Secretary was in the middle of a speech at Mansion House
Camilla Cheval was sitting next to him when it happened. "It was awful one minute he was guffawing at his own joke the next there was a bang, smell of burning flesh, wisps of smoke and he was gone."
Peter Entwhistle was also present, "I couldn't believe it when it happened. I looked into my pint of Guiness and found both his cufflinks bobbing up and down."
Jonathan Herhahah, a close friend of Mr Clarke, paid this tribute. "He always said his career would go up in smoke someday, but I don't think even he quite meant this."
The Tory leader David Cameron summed up the feeling in Parliament.
"Ken was hugely talented man. It takes some doing to just combust spontaneously. I don't know many people who could do that. And true to the end he was a very considerate man."
Thankfully Ken was largely unharmed by the ordeal.