Andy McSmith's Diary: Even Larry the cat is not safe from factions in Downing Street

Our man in Westminster

The more I hear about Larry the Downing Street cat, the more his story becomes an allegory for our time. As previously reported, the reputation of this mog was trashed by Downing Street spin doctors after he was brought in to clear the Prime Minister’s workplace of mice in 2011. It was implied then that he was too lazy to catch a cold, let alone a mouse. Last month, the commentator Matthew D’Ancona alleged that Larry was also unloved.

The latter claim was denied and a Downing Street source told me that this allegedly work-shy cat was actually a demon mouser, who had caught four mice in two weeks.

The plot thickens. I am now informed that some days ago, Larry the hardworking Downing Street mouser caught a mouse in the yard behind Downing Street and was playing with it when a furious member of staff emerged, accused the cat of wanton cruelty, and rescued the mouse.

This leads me to conclude that there is a faction in Downing Street working to undermine Larry by briefing that he cannot catch mice, while another faction seeks to big him up as a veritable mouse slaughterer, while a third undertakes mouse rescue activities. This government is split from top to bottom.

‘The youth are taking over’, MP squeaks

It is not often said that the problem with Britain is that the people who run it are too young, but Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, 44, came close as MPs discussed reform of the House of Lords. “We are not quite being run by schoolchildren, but the youth of today are taking over. Where are the octogenarians and nonagenarians? They are in the House of Lords. That is a good thing,” he said.

Talk among friends

The former Tory MP Gyles Brandreth has updated the Oxford Book of Humorous Quotations, published this week. His modesty shines in his introduction, in which he informs his readers: “There is almost no one who was born over the past one hundred years and who is quoted in the Dictionary whom I have not met. Kingsley Amis, Alan Ayckbourn, Alan Bennett, Maurice Bowra, Craig Brown, George Burns, Quentin Crisp, TS Eliot, Jackie Mason, John Mortimer, Joan Rivers, Stephen Sondheim, Tom Stoppard, Peter Ustinov, the Queen – I’ve known them all. Well, I have shaken their hands... It’s a start.”

Tory councillor discovers cannabis

Roger Oakley, a Conservative councillor in Worthing, on the Sussex coast, was out doing some groundwork on a possible new cycle route, which took him tramping through some waste ground where there used to be a council tip years ago, when he came upon five large, carefully cultivated plants growing in a circle, surrounded by canes. Someone in Worthing has been growing their own cannabis.

“The site must have had around a dozen plants there initially. You could see that some had already been harvested. We also recovered a number of leaves lying around on the ground,” Councillor Oakley told the Worthing Herald.

Clark ‘lazy, brilliant’

The Tory peer Michael Dobbs, writing in the free-sheet Waitrose Weekend, has offered a succinct verdict of the former Defence minister and Thatcher-worshipper, Alan Clark and his 1980s diaries: “He was the laziest minister I knew. His breaches of confidence are disgraceful. Sexist, arrogant, disloyal. These diaries should never have been published. Yet they are brilliant.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
news
New Articles
tvDownton Abbey Christmas special
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
Life and Style
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
Sport
sport
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketing Controller (Financial Services)

£70000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketi...

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all