Health minister Mike O’Brien likes to include a gag in his speeches, so it was only a matter of time before the opposition health team got in on the act.

Not the Tories but the other lot. End Game understands Liberal Democrat health spokeswoman and health select committee member Sandra Gidley embodied the spirit of stand-up last week while chairing a conference on the cancer reform strategy.

Ending a session on the challenges facing cancer care, Ms Gidley described how the NHS and its financial situation had changed since its inception, using famous political adages starting in 1948.

She said: “There wasn’t the necessary expenditure as there is today, so we had cradle to grave. With development we found we could improve fertility, so were funding from the womb to the tomb.

“Now we have Viagra so we find we are funding from the erection to the resurrection.”

Cue polite but bewildered applause from eminent oncologists and earnest charity types.