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  The Tories

Hundreds physically sick during Howard speech

At least one person died and dozens were taken to hospital today after a conference hall in Harrogate was flooded with human vomit. Fire-fighters had to use diving equipment to rescue people from the hall, which was being used by the current interim leader of the Conservative Party, Michael "I believe" Howard, to give a speech. His audience of Tory activists was at first "enjoying" his speech, which contained such hilarious gags as "why did the Chancellor cross the road? To tax and spend" but mild bemusement turned to ill feeling as his performance progressed.

Swaying from side to side, Mr Howard called for the "sunshine of choice to break through the clouds of state control, the wind of change to blow through the curtains of excessive regulation, and the thunderstorm of public service reform to strike a lightning bolt through the heart of the New Labour wasteland."

Professor Douglas Ramsbottom, an expert in bad weather analogies, told DeadBrain that it was at this point that onlookers would have begun to feel sick. "The first bad weather analogy would have slightly amused people because it was so bad, the second would have made them feel queasy and the third that's when people reach the edge," he said. "Any further and the consequences are disastrous."

Seemingly oblivious to his audience's discomfort, Mr Howard ploughed on through his speech with glazed eyes, dribbling slightly from his mouth. "I want that lightning bolt to set ablaze the battered tree that is Tony Blair and burn to an ash the entire Labour government in a fire that can be seen from behind the rose-tinted spectacles of a pleasant, rosy-cheeked housewife of traditional English stock, living in a quaint old cottage a safe distance away over rolling green hills in the next valley."

"I believe that the Conservative Party can purify every drop of New Labour acid rain that falls and turn it into beautiful forests and meadows and..."

By this time Mr Howard was beginning to be physically affected by his own speech, although he appeared not to notice as giant blue chunks of rhetoric and hyperbole spewed forth from his mouth, spattering over the front two rows. Their reaction was immediate, setting off a Mexican wave of vomiting which continued for some time until it reached the back of the conference hall. Scenes of chaos ensued as hoards of old women throwing their guts up attempted to leave by the nearest exit, while conference officials who were by this time also being sick appealed for calm.

"Many of those at the back managed to get out in time, but those poor people at the front stood no chance," said Station Officer Greg Mullet, who led the rescue operation. "Only now, several hours after the speech started, are we getting through to them. There are at least 20 people still missing."

Mr Howard was last seen clinging on to his podium as it floated to the top of the sea of vomit, while a number of Shadow Cabinet members were spotted swimming vigorously towards the back of the stage. A spokesman for the Conservative Party said that Mr Howard would finish his speech "with a few modifications" at a later date.

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