When Larry the cat, chief mouser at No 10, was spotted limping shortly afterTheresa May took up residence, the new prime minister’s top team took no chances.
A vet was swiftly summoned to examine Larry’s front-right paw as Palmerston, the Foreign Office cat, emerged as chief suspect.
It was with no little relief that a government spokesman was able to announce that the famous feline, adored by all in Downing Street – including, despite rumours to the contrary, David Cameron who declared his love in his final PMQs – “was expected to make a full recovery”.
The matter of Larry’s paw, however, is now causing consternation in the House of Lords over who should pay the vet’s undisclosed bill, according to the Telegraph. At the time, it was reported that Downing Street staff, fearful of the taxpayers’ wrath, had willingly dipped into their own pockets for a whip-round.
One peer has questioned whether May’s government is taking its responsibilities for animals such as Larry seriously enough if civil servants are forced to foot the bill.Apart from the No 10 staff concerned, does anyone care?
Lord Blencathra, formerly the Tory environment minister David Maclean, has submitted a formal question to the government in the House of Lords asking if Larry’s treatment was met by staff donations, and, if so, whether the government would refund those staff who had helped to pay the vet.