When you work in government, you’re bound to be questioned if not outright criticized. Someone, somewhere will complain about your policies, your work ethic or whether or not you’re a spy who’s infiltrated the office just to gather information and present it to your real boss.
Palmerston the cat, the British Foreign Office’s newest Chief Mouser, is the latest diplomat to be accused of such a thing.
— Simon McDonald (@SMcDonaldFCO) May 24, 2016
This past Tuesday, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond was asked in the House of Commons if Palmerston was in fact a spy, BuzzFeed reports. Tory MP Keith Simpson brought up that “it was thought that [Chancellor George Osborne’s cat Freya] might have been got at by a foreign power,” according to BuzzFeed. Simpson then proceeded to ask Hammond, “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 reportedly 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, who went missing for two years, his attendance record has been 100 percent. My experts tell me that that pretty much rules out the possibility of him being a commission employee.”
— Palmerston (@DiploMog) April 13, 2016
Hammond went on to add that Palmerston “has settled in perfectly and is performing his duties satisfactorily.” Hammond also told the House, “While Palmerston so far has only caught three mice, his Twitter account, @DiploMog, has attracted 8,158 followers, with a rate of growth that implies he will overtake me by the summer recess,” BBC reports.
Palmerston’s Twitter account has already jumped to 9,550 followers. So far his tweets have offered no signs of the cat being a spy, but do reveal cups of tea are unsafe. We’ll keep an eye out.