Sybil the Downing St mouser is dead

Chancellor Alistair Darling's cat Sybil, the former chief mouser of Downing Street, has died after a short illness.

Mr Darling's spokeswoman confirmed that the black and white cat died yesterday at the home of a family friend in London.

Sybil, named after Basil's wife in the TV show Fawlty Towers, was moved into the Chancellor's flat above 11 Downing Street from the Darling family home in Edinburgh in 2007.

Gordon Brown's official spokesman told reporters at the time: "The Prime Minister and Sarah do not have a problem with it."

But the renowned mouser was eventually taken back to Scotland after failing to settle.

Sybil's predecessor Humphrey wandered around Downing Street for years after first arriving in 1989. But he moved out just six months after Tony Blair became PM in 1997.