The speaker of the UK Parliament is Lindsay Hoyle. He is an animal lover. He has a menagerie of animals, I’m pleased to report. He lives in Chorley, Lancashire and of course he has a fantastic apartment at the Houses Of Parliament overlooking the Thames. Notably, he has a long-haired tabby cat named Patrick after the former Tory MP Patrick Cormack.
He brings Patrick with him to the Commons when he travels down from the north. It seems Patrick shares residences both at his home in Lancashire and in central London. He has established himself as an effective mouser having caught at least two rodents since moving in to the Palace of Westminster when Hoyle became Speaker in November.
He was commissioned to take on a new job recently which was removing mice from the Parliamentary office of Dominic Raab, the Foreign Secretary. The Foreign Secretary had complained about mice. It was a perfect job for Patrick. He didn’t catch anything but he deterred the mice and none have been spotted in Raab’s office since the went into it for a couple of hours. It is said that he appears to have solved the problem. Another example of a working cat being very useful.
Last month another high profile Parliamentary cat, Palmerston, was pensioned off at the Foreign Office. He retired from his mousing duties to spend time away from the limelight. I’m told that he killed 27 mice while carrying out his duties there. He often fought with Larry, Number 10’s resident cat.
The speaker has six companion animals all named after parliamentarians. He has named his parrot after the Prime Minister, Boris. His Patterdale terrier is called Betty after a former speaker, Betty Boothroyd. His Rottweiler is called Gordon after the former prime minister Gordon Brown and he named his tortoise Maggie because of a “hardshell and is not for turning”.