Cat-call for 'Mouse of Lords'
The noble lords and ladies gathered in the second chamber of the British parliament clearly felt it was a serious problem deserving of their careful scrutiny. But a record of the official debate on "Palace of Westminster: Pest Control" is now being passed around cyberspace as an example of British comedy at its finest.
The peers' erudite discussion about calls to the "mouse helpline", the existence of "hypoallergenic cats" and the partiality of rodents for salmon sandwiches has been praised by users of Twitter as the "best House of Lords debate ever".
It has caused amusement among newspapers around the world, with the 'Economic Times' of India suggesting the historic seat of parliament be renamed "the Palace of Vermin-ster, or at least the Mouse of Lords".
The debate was prompted by the apparently worsening rodent infestation in Westminster. Mice were seen scurrying across the floor of the Commons tea room, leading to official calls for a "resident cat" to hunt them down.
The problem was raised in the Lords on March 3 by Baroness Finlay of Llandaff, who asked "what measures are being considered to improve pest control" in the Lords?
The idea of a resident cat was rejected by Lord Brabazon, the chairman of committees, but he said the dining rooms were being "hoovered" as a matter of urgency, since "if you were a mouse, you would rather eat the crumbs of a smoked salmon sandwich than the bait". (© Daily Telegraph, London)