A NAKED, shivering Gordon Brown was finally coaxed off the Trafalgar Square plinth shortly after 8pm last night.
The prime minster had spent four hours exposing himself to fascinated tourists at the end of what Downing Street aides described as a 'particularly stressful day'.
The prime minister took control of the plinth at around 4pm after winning a nude wrestling match with Justin Holwell, its previous naked occupant.
A Number 10 spokesman said: "We had spent much of the day dealing with the latest developments in the Lockerbie mess and by mid-afternoon the prime minister had started to twitch and hum, which is always a clear signal that he is starting to unravel.
"To lighten the mood someone mentioned there was a naked man on the Trafalgar Square plinth, and everyone had a chuckle, except the prime minister who suddenly got this weird, faraway look in his eye.
"I immediately went to fetch his pills but I was too late. Within moments he was out the door and striding up Whitehall shedding items of clothing along the way. By the time he got to the plinth he was down to nothing more than his socks and shoes."
Mr Brown climbed onto the plinth and quickly overcame Mr Holwell in what one eyewitness described as a 'quick but horrifying bout of naked sumo'.
The prime minister then stood motionless for four hours, occasionally breaking his silence to shout 'I am Gordon, here me roar' followed by a brief performance of the Morecambe and Wise 'Bring me Sunshine' dance.
Business secretary Peter Mandelson arrived at 7.45pm and gradually talked the prime minister down before covering him up with a blanket and guiding him gently into the back of a people carrier.
The Downing Street spokesman added: "We've got another nine months of this. I don't know what we're going to do."