Downing Street has unveiled its latest recruit – a rat-catching cat.
The feline weapon has been taken on after a rodent was spotted scuttling past live TV cameras twice last month.
The four-legged deterrent is a tabby called Larry from Battersea Dogs and Cats Home.
Downing Street said staff at Battersea had observed that Larry had a “strong predatory drive” and enjoyed playing with toy mice, suggesting that he will be a good rat-catcher.
“Before coming to Battersea, he was a stray, so he is used to fending for himself on the streets,” added a spokesman.
“Nothing is ever guaranteed but his behaviour in Battersea convinced staff that he was up for the job.”
It is the first such official appointment since stalwart ratter Humphrey was retired in 1997, shortly after Tony Blair arrived in Downing Street.
Humphrey was succeeded for a short period by Sybil, the pet of then chancellor Alistair Darling, in 2007 – but the renowned mouser failed to settle and returned to Scotland.