Tony Blair is planning to have himself crucified this Good Friday. After being interred in a specially prepared tomb in Westminster Abbey, he plans to rise once again on Easter Sunday, before ascending to Downing Street to begin instituting the Kingdom of Heaven on earth through a Public-Private partnership. “The Prime Minister is hoping that this action will finally lay to rest questions about his leadership,” a Downing Street spokesman has said. “Clearly, someone who is truly the Son of God must be beyond reproach and the only fit person to lead the nation.” The crucifixion will apparently take place in Trafalgar Square, and Mr Blair is expected to carry his crucifix there from Downing Street on the day. In line with tradition, he will be crucified alongside two thieves – Number Ten has so far been unable to confirm that one of them will be the con man Peter Foster who recently caused the Prime Minister’s wife so many problems, although it has been strenuously denied that former Paymaster General Geoffrey Robinson will be on a cross next to Blair. Other candidates are rumoured to include disgraced Tory peer Lord Archer and former jailbird MP Johnathon Aitken . The crucifixion will be preceded by a week of special events during which Mr Blair will perform several miracles including, it is speculated, a prudent reduction in taxation accompanied by a simultaneous modest increase in public expenditure. He is also expected to reduce hospital waiting lists radically through a mass laying on of hands at the Albert Hall.

However, party traditionalists will be disappointed to hear that the Prime Minister will definitely not be raising Labour’s socialist agenda from the dead. The week will culminate with a last state banquet being held in Westminster, during which Blair will be betrayed by one of his closest colleagues. Whilst the identity of this ‘Judas’ is being kept a closely kept secret, New Labour sources have been quick to dispel rumours that it might be Chancellor Gordon Brown. “Casting Gordon in such a role would only fuel press speculation of a rift between him and the Prime Minister,” they claim. However, it is strongly believed that sacked cabinet Minister Peter Mandelson will be cast in the role of St Peter and deny Mr Blair three times before midnight. During the crucifixion, Mr Blair will , in line with established practice, be stabbed in the side with a spear wielded by a specially selected serving soldier. “I consider it an honour and a privilege,” said Private Terry Poulain, aged eighteen, of the Third Disgusting Fusiliers.

Despite Blair’s enthusiasm for the project, experts are warning that a resurrected Mr Blair could create severe constitutional problems. “Just how would a Prime Minister who is also the Messiah relate to the monarch?” Dr David Starkers asks. “Under present arrangements the Prime Minister is supposed to serve the Queen as her first minister. However, the Queen herself rules by divine right, meaning that, as the physical embodiment of the Holy Trinity, a resurrected Tony Blair would technically be superior to her! It is a recipe for disaster!” Nevertheless, Blair believes that suffering for one’s (or the nation’s) sins is the key to bringing morality and holiness back into politics, and fully expects his minister’s and aides to follow his example by performing public penances whenever they make mistakes in order to demonstrate their remorse. The crucifixion plans are currently the centrepiece of Blair’s campaign to bring morality and holiness back into politics. Stung by claims that his government is so averse to criticism that it regularly resorts to lies and cover-ups rather than publicly admit to its mistakes, Blair has decreed that from now on Ministers and advisors making mistakes will perform public penances in order to demonstrate their remorse. Consequently, his own Press Secretary Alastair Campbell now looks set to be put bare-arsed across Deputy Premier John Prescott’s knee and publicly spanked in Parliament Square next week. Campbell, seen as the main architect of New Labour’s policy of instant denial in the face of criticism, faces punishment for his failure to correctly advise the press over the facts in the recent ‘Cheriegate’ scandal, in which the Prime Minister’s wife was accused of having business dealings with a known fraudster. “He’s been well and truly hoist by his own petard,” says political commentator Eric Flamm. “It was Campbell who orchestrated Cherie Blair’s public apology and her admission of errors of judgement. That went down so well with the press and public that Blair has decided to expand the idea!”

It is believed that if the Campbell spanking proves popular, Overseas Development Minister Claire Short could be next up for the treatment, in response to her criticisms of US/UK policy on Iraq. So far there has been no official word on the exact nature of her penance, although there have been rumours of a ducking stool being constructed on the North bank of the Thames. It is still not clear as to the full scope of this new policy – whether Ministers and advisors will be chastised merely for lies and disloyalty, or whether poor performance and failure to meet targets will be included as grounds for punishment. “Its assumed that there will be a sliding scale of punishments, ranging from simple canings for everyday lies, through full floggings for failing to meet targets (the longer the hospital waiting lists the greater the number of lashes), to being burned at the stake for questioning New Labour values such as the Public-Private Partnership,” Flamm believes. “There has even been some talk that really unpopular Ministers will be put in the stocks and members of the public will be able to throw stuff at them – stones, bricks, shit, used condoms, that sort of thing!”

In addition to promoting discipline within its own ranks, the government hopes that this latest initiative will boost its popularity with the public. “There’s nothing the British public likes better than a public execution, especially if it involves a celebrity. Whilst even New Labour can’t possibly compromise its traditional values to the extent of bringing back capital punishment, this is the next best thing,” says Flamm. “The public get to see the great and the good ritually humiliated and humbled! It has long been New Labour’s problem that it is perceived as being arrogant and lacking humility – this is the perfect answer!” The government also believes that these public penances could prove a fruitful source of income – the television rights to Campbell’s spanking have already been sold to Sky Television for a reputed three million pounds. It is thought that Blair is likely to entrust the administration of the new scheme to either John Prescott or Chancellor Gordon Brown.

“Apparently both are very keen to get the position and have been attempting to impress Tony by administering private punishments to poorly performing colleagues. Brown is said to have given former Education Secretary Estelle Morris six of the best for the A-level exam results fiasco, whilst Prescott responded by giving one-time Agriculture Minister Nick Brown a bare-knuckle beating for his handling of the foot and mouth crisis,” says Flamm. “Whilst Prescott is a natural born bruiser, most think that Gordon Brown will get the job so as to enhance his disciplinarian ‘Iron Chancellor’ image. Not only that, but he has his own set of torture tools, including hot irons, manacles and a black leather executioner’s hood.”