Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 April 2014

Noodle leads Westminster pack

MP Alan Duncan with his cockapoo Noodle, who was named winner of the Westminster Dog of the Year competition at Victoria Tower Gardens in London, organised by the Dogs Trust and The Kennel Club

International Development Minister Alan Duncan insists his cockapoo Noodle is "doggy prime minister material" after she won Westminster's dog of the year competition.

The 11-month-old pup triumphed in the annual contest, pipping Simon Reevell's (Dewsbury) dog Harry and David Burrowes's (Enfield Southgate) l abrador Cholmeley to the title.

Noodle is just weeks away from celebrating her first birthday and is set to be rewarded with a special cake and a candle.

Speaking to Press Association, Mr Duncan said: "I'm thrilled to bits. She is a wonderful little pooch.

"It's her first birthday on October 28 so there will be a special cake and a candle.

"She is an absolute delight, lovely dewy-eyes and fluffy, so obedient and full of fun. She has got all the top qualities."

On the level of respect the title brings with it, Mr Duncan joked: "Never mind being a minister, this is much more important. She is definitely doggy prime minister material despite her youth."

The anticipation surrounding the competition, organised by the Kennel Club and the Dogs Trust, was noticeable among MPs in the House of Commons.

During Defra questions, talk turned away from badgers and on to dogs, prompting MPs to share a little more information about their pets.

David Amess (Southend West) proudly revealed his rescue pugs Bo and Lily would take part in the competition, prompting Environment Minister George Eustice to reply: "Can I wish Bo and Lily the very best of luck in the Westminster dog of the year competition."

He added: "I had a rescue dog myself, a border collie called Mono. They make very loving and dedicated companions."

Former shadow justice secretary Robert Flello broke the news that his rescue German shepherd Diesel would not take part in the annual parliamentary dog show.

And to cries of "shame", Christopher Pincher (Tamworth) admitted to MPs: "Regrettably I have no four-legged friend entered in the House of Commons dog show."

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