There are growing concerns about the Prime Minister’s health today as staff report that his stress levels are reaching breaking point, and he appears visibly startled and frightened every time his phone rings.
Bill English has been expecting an important phone call sometime this week, but there is a lack of certainty about exactly when it will come.
Those in his orbit say his behaviour is “erratic” near the telephone, and as time passes, the problem is getting worse.
“Out and about, he’s fine,” said one staffer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity and on the condition that the interview was totally platonic and would not include small talk about the weather. “When he’s in the office, near the phone, he’s a bit nervous, but all in all he calms down after a bit. The moment the phone rings, though, oh god.”
English, who otherwise struggles to wear his emotions on his sleeve, reportedly screamed loudly the last time his phone rang.
“What the hell happened?” asked Chief of Staff Wayne Eagleson, barging into the room.
“Oh, phone rang,” replied English.
On another occasion the Prime Minister abruptly tried to put his head through the 9th floor window when he heard a phone ringing that wasn’t even his.
Afterwards he acted like nothing had happened and like “he hadn’t almost just died.”
Sources close to the Prime Minister say it’s still not entirely apparent what all the panic is about, and isn’t clear whether he’s afraid of Donald Trump, or taking a phone call from a woman other than his wife.