I am grateful to Alan Beattie for drawing my attention to this fantastic exchange a few weeks ago in the House of Lords on pest control. It quite restores my faith in Parliament. The debate about the best way of dealing with mice in the Palace of Westminster is so beautifully droll that it is hard to believe that it was not scripted. It is certainly England at its finest, combining elements of Pinter and Monty Python.
I particularly like the discussion of the utility and indeed existence of “hypoallergenic cats”. I am pretty sure that they do exist. But I would warn their noble lords that cats that do not provoke allergies tend to be almost hairless, and therefore not very easy on the eye. I was also struck by the incredible claims made for the hit-rate of the last House of Lords cat. Baroness Finlay of Llandaff says – “Miss Wilson, when she was a resident superintendent in this Palace, had a cat that apparently caught up to 60 mice a night. The corpses were then swept up in the morning.” Personally, I find this hard to believe. Sixty a night? Talk about no rest for the wicked.