The government came under fierce criticism today for losing the Isle of Wight which is believed to have disappeared some time last month, although its absence has apparently only just been noticed.
The mislaying of the diamond-shaped island was actually uncovered by the leader of the opposition, who had intended to visit during his campaign for the local elections. David Cameron set off by boat yesterday morning from Southampton, but after heading out of the Solent and rowing around for some time he realized that the island was no longer there. ‘This is typical of the incompetence that we have come to expect from this government’ he said in the House of Commons later that day. ‘Not only have they lost a beautiful and much loved part of England, but it seems that they weren’t even aware that they had lost it! Shouldn’t the Minister responsible either find the island or have the decency to resign?’
The embattled Home Office claimed that the responsibility for this latest gaffe actually lay with the Department for the Environment, who countered by claiming that the Minister for Community Affairs and Local Government should take on the potentially tricky task of finding the Isle of Wight. A Downing Street spokesman denied Ministers were trying to pass the buck and said that enormous efforts are already underway to locate the popular tourist destination, including a large number of photocopied notices that have been tied onto lamp-posts in the Southampton area. However, the House of Commons did not seem over-concerned and MPs soon moved on to other business.
Historically part of Hampshire, the Isle of Wight is now a unitary authority and a single Parliamentary constituency. It’s MP has not been heard from recently and it is presumed that he must be on the island, wherever that may be. Although there are precedents for governments losing important documents, significant sums of money or government property, this is thought to be the first time that a significant area of the country has been mislaid. It is unknown whether it has been stolen, misplaced or even kidnapped by terrorists; one theory was that the entire island had sunk into the sea following the earthquake that was also noticed in Kent, but geologists said this was unlikely. ‘There no reason to panic or listen to alarmist talk of terrorists or earthquakes killing the entire population.’ said Sarah Andrews, Professor of Geography at Southampton University. ‘It’s probably just lying off another part of the coast somewhere, I’m sure it’ll turn up in a day or two. In the meantime we will just have to get along without it.’