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Parliament racked up a £130,000 pest control bill in a bid to rid the Palace of Westminster of mice and moths disturbed by building work, it has been revealed.
Payment to control the infestation soared to almost a third higher than last year’s bill amid fears the political hub was overrun with vermin.
According to a report by the Daily Mail, costs covered employing a full time pest controller and setting more than 1,700 traps.
Some 411 mouse sightings were reported between January and June compared to just 313 the previous year, the newspaper reported.
Some £8,900 was spent on catching moths and £16,000 spent on a hawk to control pigeons.
A spokesman for the House of Commons told the Daily 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.”
However MPs taking the problem into their own hands have apparently been disciplined for taking cats into their offices.
Minister Penny Mordaunt is among politicians who have been rebuked by officials for taking cats to their office.
She tweeted: “A great believer in credible deterrence, I’m applying the principle to the lower ministerial corridor mouse problem.”
Tory backbencher Pauline Latham told the Daily Mail: “There are definitely more mice about. We see them all the time.
“They say we can’t have a cat because they would go on desks and be unhygienic. What do they think the mice do when we’re not there?
“During recess they should have lots of cats. Maybe stray cats, borrow them from Battersea Cats’ Home.”
Political felines won the hearts’ of animal lovers across the UK during the General Election as images emerged of Larry the Downing Street cat and Palmerston from the Foreign Office.
Last year the parliamentary authorities reportedly wrote to politicians complaining about an increase in the number of banned animals appearing at Westminster.
In a message to the whips’ office, the Serjeant at Arms said: “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.”
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