Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott was left standing naked on the steps of parliament yesterday – the latest victim of militant naturists determined to ‘out’ high-profile public figures as being secretly nude. The portly politician was left looking bewildered after having his clothes torn from him by a baying mob of naked men and women, who had surged past both security barriers and police bodyguards to engulf him. The mob dispersed as quickly as it had appeared, with no arrests having been made. “I’m at a loss to explain what happened – we seemed utterly powerless to stop them,” admits Inspector Tim Rinctum, Prescott’s senior Special Branch bodyguard. “I suppose the truth is that we were all paralysed by fear by the sight of all that wobbling middle-aged flesh coming at us – we’ve only been trained to throw ourselves on attractive young female streakers at rugby matches.” Even as the naturist group Naked Aggression – which is pushing for nudists to be given equal rights under the law – claimed responsibility for the outrage in a press statement, the government was announcing extraordinary new measures to combat the growing threat posed by naked terrorism. “All police officers will be issued with emergency sets of both male and female underwear to deploy against public nudists. Whilst we believe that one size – large – will fit the majority of naturists, horse blankets will be carried in all area cars for extraordinary cases where officers encounter hideously obese gross wobble-bottoms in the buff,” revealed a Home Office spokesperson. “We will also be advising parents to keep young children blindfolded in public in order to avoid the deleterious long-term psychological effects of accidental exposure to naked ugly people.”

For their part, the naturists remain unimpressed, vowing to step up their campaign – which has so far included giving the Queen a ‘twenty-one bum salute’ during the Trooping of the Colour, a group of ‘comedy nudists’ wearing only red noses and comic false testicles leaping onstage at the Royal Variety Performance to strip veteran comic Bruce Forsythe whilst pointing at his gnarled old knob and shouting “nice to see you, nice”, and naked ramblers being despatched to claim Britain’s historic footpaths as ‘pubic rights of way’. Police fear that they are planning to target more high-profile public figures – possibly including Prime Minister Tony Blair – for ‘outings’. Indeed, it was feared that Naked Aggression commandoes had struck at royalty when several naked men were recently seen climbing over the wall of Prince Edward’s official residence. However, it was quickly established that they were former schoolfriends of the Prince paying a regular visit.

According to the movement’s leaders, Naked Aggression has been forced to adopt its shock tactics in order to combat the efforts of successive governments to marginalise and criminalise law-abiding naturists. “As if it wasn’t bad enough being subjected to a form of apartheid – restricted to specialist nudist beaches and camps and being harassed or even arrested if we stray out of them – this government has tried to completely criminalise us by introducing a new sexual offence of ‘reckless exposure’! This attempt to brand us all perverts really is the last straw,” opines one of the movement’s leading lights, former Liberal MP Tom Rollocks, who was expelled from the party after making a Commons speech dressed only in a top hat. “In continental Europe they have no such problem with public nakedness, but here in Britain – thanks to our furtive attitude to sex – we’ve come to associate nudity purely with eroticism and perversity! It is our aim to show people that there is nothing alarming or distressing about the sight of naked human bodies we’re all just a few flimsy pieces of material away from being naturists!”

Whilst the government has now amended the new Sexual Offences Bill to remove the term reckless – pointing out that the new law was aimed at flashers rather than naturists – the appointment of an openely naturist Bishop (famed for conducting services clad only in a dog-collar) is threatening to split the Church of England. “This whole situation is getting completely out of hand – everywhere you look there are acres of bare flesh, all of it flabby! And now we’ve got the prospect of some vicar shoving his privates in the faces of women and children – if we wanted that sort of thing we’d have joined the left-footers!” says Tory MP Henry Halls. “I just don’t know what their tactics are meant to achieve – I find any public display of genitalia alarming and distressing! Quite frankly, the sight of John Prescott naked is more likely to turn people off of the idea of naturism!” Responding to Halls’ comments, Naked Aggression emphasised that the purpose of naturism was not sexual gratification or titillation. “Like most textiles, he is completely missing the point! We want people to accept nudity for what it is -perfectly natural! Believe me, hiking through the countryside unencumbered by clothing is not only exhilarating, but brings you much closer to nature into the bargain,” says Rollocks. “The human body, no matter what shape it is in, is nothing to be ashamed of. Let us not forget that nudity is man’s natural state – as evidenced by native tribesmen in Africa and the Amazon who fearlessly brave hostile environments in the buff!”

Halls remains unconvinced by the naturists’ arguments. “It may be practical for savages to run round stark bollocking naked in tropical climes, but here in the civilised world there are practical reasons for wearing clothes, not least the climate. Trust me, running around naked might seem fun during this heatwave, but come the winter when their bollocks start turning blue with cold and dropping off, these so-called naturists will soon cover up,” he says. “Many jobs would be impossible to carry out nude – can you imagine a naked police officer, with only his big blue helmet for identification, directing traffic, or running down the street after a burglar, truncheon in hand? And the very thought of naked firemen battling fires, hoses and choppers in hand, fills me full of horror! Just imagine the risk of horrendous burns!”

He also has little time for the idea of ‘getting closer to nature’ by rambling naked. “I don’t want my wife having naked genitalia thrust in her face when we go out for a country stroll,” he rages. “Out of curiosity, however, I did give it a try, just to prove how impractical it is, of course. Well, I certainly got closer to nature – my poor bollocks were torn to bits by brambles and throbbing from insect bites, whilst my penis was swollen to twice its normal size by nettle stings! Furthermore, I suffered no less than three sexual assaults – first by passing huntsmen, then by a group of young farmers and finally by a horse, all of whom had been dangerously aroused by the sight of a naked man! And that was before I’d even left my back garden!”