Lord Elton - To ask the Chairman of Committees whether consideration will be given to acquiring a number of respectable cats to reduce the rodent population of the Palace of Westminster.
The Chairman of Committees (Lord Brabazon of Tara): The possible use of cats, respectable or otherwise, to control the rodent population in the Palace of Westminster has been considered and ejected on a number of practical grounds. For example, the cats would ingest mouse poison when eating poisoned mice; there would be nothing to keep them in the areas where they are most needed, or to stop them walking on desks in offices and on tables in restaurants and bars; they can carry fleas and other parasites; and many people are allergic to cat hair. However, the Administration is taking a wide range of other control measures such as significantly increasing the number of bait boxes and traps, sealing mouse access points and intensifying the cleaning regime to minimise the presence of crumbs in the bars and food outlets. The age, construction and location of the Palace of Westminster are such that it will never be possible to eradicate mice entirely, but all appropriate measures are being taken to minimise the numbers.
I am aware from internal emails that mice have been spotted around the House of Lords end of the Palace - but haven't seen them myself! The Speaker's wife (who lives in the Speaker's House which is in the Palace) revealed a few weeks ago in a tweet - "Eeek we have a mouse again! Just seen it run under the dishwasher. The mouse-catcher man doesn't work on Sundays though... what to do?"