Nobody seems to be rooting for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson anymore, except, perhaps, Boris Johnson. However, the entire internet seems to agree that one public figure should remain in power, and perhaps even take over after the current PM’s scandal-filled ousting.
Larry the Cat, the chief mouser to the Cabinet Office, has sat on top of news over Johnson’s scandals for well over a week. The unverified parody Twitter account under the cat’s name has been surfing the wave of Johnson’s “midlife crisis” as it rocks the UK’s political landscape. On Thursday morning, Johnson agreed to resign but will remain in power until a successor is chosen. The process of choosing a new leader will be announced next week, the prime minister told reporters at his speech.
@Number10cat’s post saying “I can no longer, in good conscience, live with this Prime Minister. Either he goes, or I do” has so far racked up over 44,000 retweets and edging on 250,000 likes.
In a message to Gizmodo, the Larry the Cat parody account wrote “While the scandals that have led to Johnson’s downfall have been serious and often heartbreaking, that doesn’t mean that he can’t be made a figure of fun.”
Johnson came to power in a landslide victory for his Conservative Party back in 2019, promising to continue with the Brexit proceedings, but subsequent scandals such as alleged “lockdown parties” made his tenure a routine “joke.” The most recent embarrassment to rock his administration was when a conservative lawmaker appointed by Johnson, Chris Pincher (give it a second, it’s a very ironic name), reportedly groped two men at a London club. Johnson was reportedly warned of Pincher’s past behavior. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday saw a flurry of resignations from high ranking ministers and officials.
As per The Independent, Larry the Cat was brought into the revolving door of British politics back in 2011 under then-Prime Minister David Cameron. The 15-year-old tabby was originally a stray that was taken in by London’s Battersea Dogs and Cats Home to become the official ratcatcher in residence. Because it is owned by 10 Downing Street staff, he will remain in his position after Johnson’s ouster. It also means Larry has remained in his position longer than any British leader in the past 11 years.
In his goodbye speech, the current prime minister said “the reason I have fought so hard in the last few days to” remain in power was to “continue to do what we promised in 2019.” He further said he tried to persuade his fellow lawmakers “it would be eccentric to change governments when we are delivering so much.”
Yet even during the rush and tumble of the political scandal, even national news could not help taking the time to focus in on the nation’s favorite feline.
Larry’s turn as a national figurehead is something that @Number10cat noted to Gizmodo, saying “Politics has been incredibly turbulent for the last few years so people cling to any sense of continuity, which a permanent resident of Downing Street, in the form of a 15-year-old mouser, provides.”
So even amidst the political crisis, the nation has focused on little Larry the Cat for any hint of stability. Former Tory party politico Rory Stewart even told CNN that “almost anybody in parliament would be a better prime minister… Larry the Downing Street cat… would be a better prime minister.”
Update 07/07/22 at 3:10 p.m. ET: This post was amended to include a comment from the @Number10cat Twitter account.