With a rodent problem at Downing Street having been highlighted by the appearance of rats on not one but two broadcasts from outside Number 10 this week, it seems that Humphrey, the former feline resident, is sorely missed.
Cats charity the Cats Protection wrote to David Cameron offering him one of its strays as chief mouser. Ever anxious to maintain the democratic building blocks of this country, the charity has picked ten willing feline candidates and is putting them to a public vote.
“We invited the Prime Minister to provide one of the 7,000 cats in our care with a new home. Our cats come from all walks of life and we are certain one of them has the qualities to fill this top position. As we live in a democratic society we wanted to the public to vote for the cat they wanted to see entering Downing Street,” Cats Protection’s director of communications, Nick Edmans, said.
The job of Downing Street cat has been largely vacant since 8-year veteran Humphrey was, some say, rather unceremoniously booted out of Number 10 soon after the Blairs took up residency. He served under the premierships of Margaret Thatcher, John Major and, briefly, Tony Blair.
Former Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling's cat Sybil, who lived at Number 11, was designated chief mouser under Gordon Brown, but sadly she failed to settle and was moved to Scotland for a quieter life out of the public eye within 6 months.
UPDATE: The polls have closed and the results are in. Harry the cat has been voted into Downing Street by the British public.