An army of cats are poised to descend on Westminster to help rid Parliament of vermin.
Battersea Cats and Dogs Home have drawn up a list of their top mousers that could help solve Parliament's pest problem after yet another MP complained about mice. However a spokesperson told The Independent that they as many as 160 cats available
For those who work in Parliament, sightings of mouse colonies are common and MPs have reported mounds of droppings as well as nibbled corners on official documents.
Pauline Latham, MP for Mid Derbyshire, is among a number of MPs who said they would like a cat to take back to their offices. She said: “Battersea Dogs & Cats Home do a fantastic job, and I would certainly love to have one of their cats come and take care of the mouse problem in my office.”
Westminster already has two cats: Larry, Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office and Freya, who is George Osborne's cat.
Larry was a rehomed feline from Battersea and shares his duties with Freya, who went missing when the Osborne's lived in Notting Hill. After spending months as a stray, she was returned to the Chancellor and his family.
Yet behind those imposing black doors, all was not well. The two cats first hit headlines in October 2012, when Freya and Larry were pictured fighting on the steps of Downing Street.
According to reports, Freya is very much the dominant cat, far more proficient in mousing, a legacy from her days on the streets. Larry in comparison is far lazier and in September Downing Street were forced to deny that David Cameron dislikes Larry. The disclosure that poor Larry was unloved came in Matthew d’Ancona’s book, In It Together.
With troubles at the top, it is perhaps only a matter of time before there will be a new set of whiskers prowling the green benches. Battersea has suggested three possible candidates: Jill, Finn and Bloom.
According to Battersea, three-year-old Jill “hopes to tackle mouse immigration” while four-year-old Finn “would like to promote equal rights for cats and dogs in the long standing debate for equality.” Bloom, the baby of the bunch, is a one-year-old and “has been sharpening her claws on global economic policies ready to show just how it’s done.” It is not clear how their "policies" were ascertained.
Anne McIntosh MP, Chair of the House of Commons EFRA Select Committee, said: “I am thrilled and delighted to work closely with Battersea Dogs & Cats Home. In my view, provided the situation was controlled with care, particularly considering the welfare of those allergic to cats, the best way to control and eliminate the mouse problem in Parliament would be a rescue cat.”