Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has praised Prime Minister Gordon Brown as 'an excellent student' after it emerged that marked electoral registers for the Glenrothes by-election have gone missing.
The registers, which are the only record of who actually voted in the by-election, are supposed to be retained for one year in case of an enquiry.
Labour held the Glenrothes seat, laid vacant following the death of John MacDougall, with a majority of 6000 - a surprise result considering the Scottish Labour Party had been consistently behind in the polls throughout campaigning.
However, President Mugabe today revealed that he has been tutoring the Prime Minister in election-management techniques, including:
- Making sure that every corpse in UK graveyards is registered to vote - and does so;
- Ensuring that there are sufficient postal votes registered to guarantee the result;
- Methods to dispose of records after the election so that it can be hailed as 'free and fair'.
Mr Mugabe said, "Mr Brown has been an excellent student, for a colonialist. He quickly learned the rules of 'Banana-Republic' electioneering and, with my help, he ensured that Glenrothes, [population of 47,000] had 1.2 million registered postal voters, all of whom voted Labour".
A spokesman for the Scottish Labour Party hailed Mr Mugabe's assistance, saying, "the ballot papers were counted fair and square in front of the eyes of the world. We couldn't have got away with it without Rob's help".
Mr Mugabe is now reported to be working closely with the Prime Minister in designing Mr Browns' latest fiscal policy.