Scotland politics

Holyrood officials reject plea for a Holyrood cat

Holyrood bosses have rejected calls for a Scottish Parliament cat despite fears of a mice invasion inside the building.

Justice committee convener Christine Grahame made the plea at Corporate Body Questions in the chamber.

But the body's health and safety spokeswoman Linda Fabiani said: "We have no plans to procure a resident cat."

She added that a specialist pest control contractor visited the building regularly.

There were cries of "shame" from MSPs and Ms Grahame said she was "dispirited" by the rejection.

She added: "We already have an established practice of setting nature on unwanted residents in the form of the hawk versus the pigeons.

"Is the Corporate Body really satisfied that the mice are under control given the increasing sightings as they flaunt themselves in public in broad daylight?

"Will the Corporate Body reconsider if there are more rodent rompings and provide some homeless felines with some meaningful employment?"

Ms Fabiani replied: "We have looked at the suggestion of a parliament cat but there's issues of the security doors, or cruelty to a resident cat who would not be allowed out of the building.

"Members have said to us that they would have an allergy to a resident cat."

Westminster has had a long line of resident cats which are given the title Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office.

The job is currently shared by Chancellor George Osborne's cat Freya and former stray Larry, which took the post when former Chancellor Alistair Darling's cat Sybil returned to Edinburgh in 2009.

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