There are currently five cats in various UK government departments, recruited after staff and politicians complained, not about yet another Brexit-related conundrum, but something a little more tangible and perhaps even scarier - a rampant mouse and rat problem.
King of the political cats is Larry, a brown and white tabby, twelve years old and now a rather handsome elder statesman. Before inadvertently assuming office in a balmy and pre-Brexit 2011, Larry was a stray. He was plucked from political obscurity by Downing Street staff who rescued him from perhaps the mother of all animal rescue organisations, Battersea Cats and Dogs Home.
Without the need for any party room chicanery and with little fanfare, Larry was appointed the Prime Minister’s Chief Mouser. Not only was Larry parachuted into the heart of politics, rubbing shoulders with a visiting Barack Obama and stealing the ham from his sandwiches, he found himself occupying an extremely desirable home in the heart of Westminster with round the clock police protection.
As Theresa May gamely clings on to power in the face of almost daily Brexit-induced challenges and vitriol from one source or another, Larry seems utterly oblivious to the increasing mayhem and angst enveloping his embattled tin-opener. Indeed, Larry continues to bask in a warm glow of mass popularity, affection and, yes, trust that he will faithfully do what he is employed to do, commodities that most twenty first century politicians, wherever in the world they ply their trade, can only dream of.
Larry’s rescuer, Battersea Cats and Dogs Home,welcomed its first stray dog over 150 years ago, in 1860, and since then has re-homed more than three million animals; an amazing achievement and testament to its unwavering vision that every dog and cat should live in a home where they are treated with love, care and respect.
That mission statement should perhaps resonate more in the human world, including the world of politics, than it currently does and would perhaps go some way to restoring the public’s faith in governments and revolving door politicians. Theresa May’s Chief Mouser, and all currently or formerly homeless cats around the globe, would doubtless agree. In 2012, Battersea Cats and Dogs Home revealed that Larry's popularity had resulted in a surge of 15% more people adopting cats. No wonder he’s still in office.