Eek! There’s a mouse, loose about the House

Chris Moncrieff. Photo by Peter Smith/PA
Chris Moncrieff. Photo by Peter Smith/PA
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The House of Commons has a major domestic problem: mice.

The House of Commons has a major domestic problem: mice.

They infest some MP’s offices, scamper around the corridors, appear in committee rooms and yet - can you believe it? – the way they are trying to deal with this menace is hampered by political correctness. Despite numerous complaints, the House of Commons authorities refuse to allow mousetraps to be placed at strategic points. They say it is inhumane – human rights for mice, if you please! So what happens, since they seem reluctant to allow cats in the building?

They lay poison down. So the suffering mice, thus poisoned, crawl away into their holes, collapse and die and create a great stink until they can be winkled out.

They are rodents which should be eradicated by the quickest and best possible means, namely traps. But, as I say, the authorities seem too squeamish to adopt the obvious approach.

Oddly enough, many years ago, a mighty oration in the Commons by Winston Churchill was suddenly silenced as MPs - including Churchill - watched an errant mouse scurrying across the floor of the Chamber.

Not many have upstaged Churchill as that mouse did.

This must be a task for Mr Squeaker, John Bercow. Stiffen the sinews and summon up the blood, Mr Bercow.

Your country needs you.

It is not only mice plaguing the House of Commons.

On the floor of the Commons, there are far fewer places for Members to occupy than the total number of Members. And the situation is getting worse.

To put it crudely, the nation’s MPs are getting fatter and, I fear, some of them are taking up what not so long ago would have been two spaces.

But unlike the war against mice, the authorities do at least seem to be using a bit of common sense.

They have started by removing all the sugary drinks, and similar, from the vending machines dotted around the Palace of Westminster.

Whether that, along with a few robust spells in the parliamentary gymnasium, will reduce a few waistlines and reverse posterior expansion we shall have to see.

But it is, at least, a start.