Page last updated at 16:07 GMT, Tuesday, 28 July 2009 17:07 UK

Ex-Downing Street cat Sybil dies

Sybil found life in the glare of London's media uncomfortable

Chancellor Alistair Darling's cat Sybil has died following a short illness.

Mr Darling's spokeswoman confirmed that the black and white animal - a renowned catcher of Downing Street mice - had passed away at a home in London.

Sybil was named after the fictional hotelier Basil Fawlty's wife in the 1970s comedy show Fawlty Towers.

She moved into the chancellor's flat from the Darling family home in Edinburgh in 2007 but left six months later after failing to settle.

Amid rumours that Gordon Brown disliked the cat, his official spokesman told reporters at the time: "The prime minister and [his wife] Sarah do not have a problem with it."

Sybil's predecessor Humphrey wandered around Downing Street for years after first arriving in 1989.

But he moved out just six months after Tony Blair became prime minister in 1997.

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