It's no secret that the Houses of Parliament cost a lot of money to maintain, particularly when they're in desperate need of renovation. But it turns out there's another big bill MPs need to deal with: the £130,000 needed to deal with all the pests.
According to the Daily Mail the cost of keeping Parliament vermin free last year was a third higher than the year before, with much of the cost going towards hiring a full time pest controller and setting 1,700 traps. £8,900 was spent on killing moths, while £16,000 was spent on a hawk that controls the local pigeon population.
MPs have been taking the problem into their own hands by bringing cats into work, but the Mail claims they have been disciplined for doing so. Apparently it's unhygienic, because the cats will wander over the furniture. You know because mice are nice and considerate, and make sure to do all their dirty antics on the floor. Tory backbencher Pauline Latham suggested to the Mail that cats be moved into Parliament during recess, suggesting they find strays or borrow them from Battersea Cats' Home.
She has a point really. Cats are very good at catching vermin, including moths, birds, and rodents, so why spend money on an exterminator when a cat will do the job? That's apparently what Disneyland does, after all. You might need someone to clean up the carnage, but I imagine that would be cheaper than hiring a specialised exterminator - even if said cleaner (or cleaners) get a bit extra for the disgusting work.
Labour MP Stella Creasy also tweeted that Parliament cats would be 'YouTube Gold', and if the government monetised those videos they might be able to earn some extra cash in the process - provided the law doesn't say that's not allowed.
I for one will be joining cross party efforts for feline membership of Parliament - not just for the mice, it's Youtube gold in waiting! 😼😉https://t.co/9k53LZIqeC
— stellacreasy (@stellacreasy) August 15, 2017
A House of Commons spokesman told the Mail:
"The increase in pest control costs in 2016/17 is due to a higher number of maintenance projects across the estate which have disturbed pests and made them more visible, increasing the need for pest control, hawk flying and moth deterrents.
Office renovations on the estate have also resulted in an increased requirement for pest control measures."
It was made clear that the Commons that the only animals allowed on the premises are guide dogs and security, with the Serjeant of Arms telling the Whip's office, "This rule is in place because of the duty of care that would arise in relation to animal welfare and the health, safety and wellbeing of members, staff and visitors on the parliamentary estate." [Daily Mail via London Evening Standard]