In a surprise change to a scheduled speech, the Prime Minister, David Cameron, is to apologise to Britain's former colonies over the Empire's treatment of their socks.
During a visit to a meeting of midlands industry executives in Wolverhampton tomorrow, Mr Cameron was expected to concentrate on regeneration of derelict areas with a view to creating business opportunities and jobs in the region.
However, he has decided to take the opportunity to refer to the festering issue of socks in the British Empire. His audience will include members of various former colonial communities, so aides believe his apology should be received well.
"For too long, the Government of these islands and the Empire saw the world as painted red and therefore their private sock emporium," he will say.
"Tribesmen, poor villagers, mountain dwellers, fishermen, farmers... all had to acquire socks from British bureaucrats, often when it would have been more sensible to go without.
"But Victorian morés being what they were, our predecessors could not see past the vision of naked feet - for which the present administration is sorry."