UK Politics

Commons rejects cat idea for 'spiralling' mouse problem

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Media captionAnne McIntosh calls for cats to be brought in to Parliament to control mice

The Commons authorities have ruled out getting a rescue cat to deal with the "significant rodent problem" in the Houses of Parliament.

MP Anne McIntosh said that the mice population was "spiralling out of control", particularly in kitchens posing a "clear health hazard".

But she was told that the estate was so big, it would take a "herd of cats" to clear the mice - which would bring its own problems.

Instead pest control has been called.

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Image caption Larry is the chief mouser of Downing Street

Ms McIntosh raised the issue in the Commons, suggesting that they follow the model of 10 Downing Street - which has its own cat, Larry, a rescue cat from Battersea Dogs and Cats Home.

The charity has offered the Palace of Westminster the pick of some of its best mousers and Ms McIntosh pressed the ruling House of Commons Commission to take them up on their offer.

"It's a matter of fact that the mice population is spiralling out of control, particularly in areas where food is being prepared," she told MPs.

"If mice can be close to the source of food and be a health hazard, one would think it would be perfectly sensible to introduce a cat to keep the mice population down."

She suggested a cat could be "released in the evening" to track down the Commons mice.

But John Thurso, for the Commission, said while the offer of a rescue cat had received "full and proper consideration" it had "clear practical and technical difficulties" and, instead, pest control had been called in to deal with the problem.

He added: "Given the scale and size of the estate, it would be necessary to have a great number of cats to make any real impact and having a herd of cats on the parliamentary estate would present a number of difficulties."

He joked: "I'm advised by my own chief whip that herding cats is quite difficult."

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