BRITAIN'S chief medical officer was last night forced to deny links to the international skunk trade after calling for the price of alcohol to be doubled.
Sir Liam Donaldson said he was opposed to all artificial stimulants and claimed that increasing the price of drink would encourage people to stay in and watch Lark Rise to Candleford while sipping a glass of luke warm tap water.
But critics insisted Sir Liam must have known that doubling the cost of the nation's favourite drug would inevitably encourage hard-up consumers to shop around for better value.
Professor Henry Brubaker, of the Institute for Studies, said: "How could anyone who is not in league with the skunk barons think that this is a good idea?"
Professsor Brubaker also pointed to a recent television campaign which suggests that taking skunk is like going to a groovy party inside your own head.
He added: "A couple of the guests seem to be a bit out of sorts, but all parties are like that and at least no-one is getting steadily pissed on Jacob's Creek and going on and on about house prices. Meanwhile the majority of the young man's alter egos seem to be having a lovely time.
"One can only conclude that the chief medical officer is lying awake in bed at night thinking of new and diabolical ways to get us all skunked-up to the eyeballs."
Government sources last night hinted they would reject Sir Liam's plan stressing they may be catastrophically incompetent and hopelessly out of touch with public opinion, but they weren't morons.
Emma Hollis, a wine drinker from Twickenham, said: "If the price of alcohol doubles I will have to rethink my weekly shopping budget. What I can say is that, one way or another, by nine o'clock on a Friday night I am going to be completely and utterly off my tits."