The Foreign Secretary has been forced to deny that chief mouser Palmerston is a foreign spy

Do you remember Palmerston? He was the cat, recruited by the Foreign Office from Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, to become "chief mouser".

Picture: Stefan Rousseau / PA Wire/Press Association Images

It was a lovely feel good news story, probably deployed to distract us from some disability welfare cuts or the privatisation of the Queen. (Ed: An "alive cat" strategy, perhaps?)

Anyway, foreign secretary Philip Hammond faced a barrage of questions on Tuesday as to whether the two-year-old cat was a mole working for foreign powers.

According to the parliamentary hansard Conservative MP Keith Simpson asked the following:

Has Palmerston been positively vetted by the security service and scanned for bugs by GCHQ? Can you assure the House, and the more paranoid element of the Brexiters, of Palmerston’s British provenance and that he is not a long-term mole working for the EU Commission?

Hammond replied:

He is definitely not a mole and I can categorically assure you that Palmerston has been regularly vetted. As for being a sleeper, he is definitely a sleeper, I am told very often in my office.

But unlike Freya [,George Osborne's cat], who went missing for two years, his attendance record has been 100 per cent. My experts tell me that that pretty much rules out the possibility of him being a commission employee.

So far, Palmerston has caught three mice, which may or may not have been surveillance-trained operatives attempting to expose Chairman Meow.

Original picture: Stefan Rousseau / PA Wire/Press Association Images
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