MP Stephen Hammond’s pooch misses out on Westminster Dog of the Year


The Wimbledon MP’s English Cocker Spaniel missed out on a podium spot in a competition highlighting the relationship between dogs and owners.


By Amaris Cole

A disappointed pooch seems to be less popular with voters than his MP owner, after missing out on the Westminster Dog of the Year 2011 title yesterday.

Stephen Hammond, MP for Wimbledon, entered Jasper the English Cocker Spaniel into the competition which was open to all dogs, regardless of their ‘pawlitical’ persuasion.

Although he missed out on his place on the podium this year, Mr Hammond was hopeful that Jasper would win, expecting the ‘political pooch’ to catch the judges eye, with his “boundless energy and brilliant attitude.”

Winner, Neil Parish MP, says he is delighted that his pet,Wilberforce the Labrador, won the title.

He said: “I’m sure his constituents in Tiverton and Honiton will be as delighted as I am that their local dog has won such an accolade.”

The event, held jointly by The Dog’s Trust and the Kennel Club, aims to highlight the relationship between dog and owner, which is unlike any other. Responsible dog ownership is also a key theme of the day.

Judges on the day were Clarissa Baldwin, CEO of Dogs Trust, Vanessa McAlpine, Discover Dogs and Crufts Events Manager and 2010 Westminster Dog of the Year winner Helen Grant MP.

Ms McAlpine said: “The variety of dogs that came down to today’s Westminster Dog of the Year shows how dogs of all shapes and sizes can fit into anyone’s lives and today’s event demonstrates how committed these MPs are to responsible dog ownership.”

Only two Labour MPs attempted to steal a victory in the Tory-strong competition, which is its 19th year.

The final took place at 10:30am at Victoria Tower Gardens, next to the House of Lords in Westminster, attended by new hopefuls and Dog of the Year regulars.

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