The Westminster dog championship is tomorrow, and the stakes are high. Never mind that yet another Budget is being held in less than a month, or that MPs and peers are still wrangling over tax credits; this is where the real action is.
Dozens of politicians will battle it out for the title of Dog of the Year, and are encouraging their own constituents to humour them by voting for their pooch to win.
Perhaps aware that expenses are no longer something to be given out like penny sweets in the House of Commons, the government has not coughed up a single penny for the event.
Instead, the Dogs Trust and Kennel Club, for whom the event raises awareness, has coughed up around £1000 for venue hire, tea and coffee and the manufacture of fancy trophies for the hard-nosed politicians.
While bookies at Betway have offered 7/1 on this year’s winner being a rescue hound from the Dogs Trust (MPs without pets can borrow one from the charity), a few names caught The Capitalist’s eye as belonging to the elite archives of conservative history.
Honourable mentions go to Boris and Maggie, companions to Tory MP Alec Shelbroke; Winston, fur-baby to Cardiff north MP Craig Williams; and Enfield conservative David Burrowes’ pooch Cholmeley (the surname of one of the oldest baronet titles in the Lords). Poor pups. What did they do to deserve all that?