In Brief

Michael Heseltine confesses to strangling mother's dog

Tory peer says he took action after Kim the alsatian started biting him

EDITOR'S NOTE: Lord Heseltine has since denied killing his mother's dog himself. He says the dog went "limp" but was "perfectly alright". However, the next day they took the dog to the vet and had it put down. "Everybody was very sad; we loved him," he said.

Michael Heseltine, the former Tory deputy prime minister, has confessed to strangling his mother's alsatian.

"I went to stroke him and he started biting me," the 83-year-old peer told Tatler magazine. "If you have a dog that turns, you just cannot risk it. So I took Kim's collar – a sort of choker chain – and pulled it tight.

"Suddenly he went limp. I was devoted to Kim, but he'd obviously had some sort of mental breakdown."

His wife, Lady Heseltine, told the magazine: "Beautiful dog. Huge, with a great thick coat."

"Oh dear. It seems Michael Heseltine ought to prepare for a visit from the RSPCA in the next week or so," says The Spectator's Steerpike.

The charity has said it is considering a response to the claim.

The Conservative Party grandee, who unsuccessfully stood against Margaret Thatcher for leadership in 1990, has also claimed to have shot dead 350 grey squirrels in six months.

"These foreign intruders may have a Walt Disney appeal in London parks, but to us they are Public Enemy Number One… and are shot without hesitation," he wrote in a book, Thenford, co-authored by his wife.

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