PRIME minister Gordon Brown last night rejected calls to sack Alistair Darling but did remove the chancellor’s right eyebrow with a blowtorch.
As Mr Brown moved to reassert his authority, senior ministers described the defacing of the chancellor as a ‘wake-up call’ to the rest of the cabinet.
According to senior Labour sources, Mr Darling arrived for a scheduled meeting with the prime minister shortly after 7pm.
He was shown into the kitchen where he found a relaxed Mr Brown dressed in a blue and white striped apron, about to put the finishing touches to a fresh batch of creme bruleé.
The prime minister, clutching his Faringdon Cook’s Torch, smiled at the chancellor and asked him to take a seat.
Within moments international development secretary Douglas Alexander and schools secretary Ed Balls appeared behind Mr Darling and strapped him to the pine shaker dining chair.
Mr Brown, still grinning, approached the chancellor and said: “You like losing things do you Alistair?”
Less than an hour later a clearly shaken Mr Darling, missing his right eyebrow, told a press conference: “I offered the prime minister my resignation but he has decided instead to remove a key part of my face with a blowtorch.
“Leaving me with just the one eyebrow will act as a constant reminder to uphold the highest standards in government and is a testament to his judgement and leadership.”