Prime Minister Gordon Brown has today announced that the government will sell the naming rights to Number 10 Downing Street in a bid to raise much-needed cash for the ailing British economy.
The successful bidders will be able to incorporate their name into the iconic '10 Downing Street' name, and fierce competition is expected from commercial and sporting organisations. Foreign governments, dodgy far-east businessmen, arms dealers, political parties and Lord Mandelson will be specifically barred from the bidding process.
Early front runners include the the makers of the No 7 cosmetic range who see an opportunity to upgrade their number, and Northern Rock who, as complete bankers, see the Prime Minister as one of their own.
Tory leader David Cameron condemned the plan as a 'typical cheap Labour trick to try and bail the PM out of the mire he has led us all into.'
Renowned bandwagon-jumper Richard Branson said he would be thrilled to see ' Number 10 Downing Street sponsored by Virgin' everytime a politician or world statesman stood in front of the famous black door, but a condition would be that the door was repainted red and the traditional London bobby standing outside replaced by a scantily-clad stewardess from his eponymous airline.
Mr Brown is believed to favour sponsorship from the Kirkaldy Male Voice Choir but they are unlikely to have the resources required for the deal.
An enquiry from the Tony Blair Foundation was reportedly given short shrift by officials.