In a controversial move which has left many of the ERG Group foaming at the mouth, Theresa May is understood to have approached Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and asked him for a few pointers on how Tory MPs should celebrate St George’s Day.

‘You know the Irish always have a jolly time on their patron saint’s day, don’t they?’ she explained.

It’s understood Mrs May’s idea is to use the occasion to garner some kind of cohesion and support to build unity within the parliamentary party in an attempt to get her ‘zombie’ Brexit deal through The House of Commons.

But sententious wind-bag Mark Francois was quick on the attack. ‘What was she thinking? Some of us already had this all sorted out. We were going to perhaps mention it to one another, just maybe shake hands and then have a corned beef sandwich for lunch.’

‘But now apparently we’re all off to a hotel this evening for a ‘session’ and ‘a bit of craic’ whatever the hell that is. It sounds very un-British to me.’

Meanwhile Mr Varadkar told reporters: ‘Yes, I gave Mrs May a few pointers that might just get her and her repressed anally retentive party colleagues having a bit of fun. So I’ve had a word with a few lads I know in London and we’ve laid on cheap Guinness, Dublin Bay Prawns and Oysters in-the-basket for dinner. Plus a feckin’ brilliant ceilidh band too.’

‘However, although she broadly welcomed my input she drew a red line at one suggestion, refusing point-blank to have “that gobshite” Michael Flatley for the cabaret.’