Who is the new guide dog in the House of Commons? All the details on the new pup in Parliament

Virgin Radio

10 Jul 2024, 09:55

(L-R) Steve Darling MP with guide dog Jennie, Jennie lying on the floor of the House of Commons

Credit: X (@PolitlcsUK + @cllrsdarling)

Fans of Larry the Cat might be interested to see the animal contingent of the UK government has grown with a new dog in arriving in Downing Street. 

A number of new MPs were sworn into the House of Commons following last week’s general election, and the longstanding traditional ceremony had plenty of humans - and one four-legged friend giving feline Larry a run for his money.  

But who is the pup in Parliament? Here’s everything we know about the new canine in the House of Commons. 



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Eagle-eyed viewers watching on as MPs took their place in the Commons spotted the new furry addition, and now we know who it is. 

Golden retriever Jennie is a guide dog belonging to new Liberal Democrat MP Steve Darling, who is registered blind. 

Darling is the new MP for Torbay in the south west, having previously been on the local council for 30 years. He's also the leader of the Liberal Democrat Group in the local area. 

Jennie has been front-and-centre of Darling’s social media updates, often making appearances on the campaign trail and beyond, and now she’s made her Commons debut, it’s likely she’ll be at the ‘paw’-front' of the biggest political issues. 

Steve Darling MP with guide dog Jennie

Credit: Office of Steve Darling MP

virginradio.co.uk reached out to Darling to learn more about how Jennie has been getting on in her first week, and he told us: "Jennie has been really enjoying her first few days in Parliament. Staff, security and MPs have been engaging positively with her, many of them very doe-eyed and she has been brilliant at taking tension out of new situations. 

“Having green spaces next to the estate has been a blessing because I can take Jennie for a run before we go into work and at the end of the day she can let off some steam with another run around."

He added: “It’s been great for Jennie to be so warmly welcomed to parliament because she makes a huge difference to me. Being registered blind, you don’t get the visual cues like other people, so Jennie is a really positive bridge to other parliamentarians. For instance, at the Speaker’s Reception, Jennie’s presence made it easier to open conversations with others and to share our hopes and worries for the parliament ahead. 

“After just one day, I can arrive in Westminster hall and say to Jennie ‘find the cloakroom’ and she will go on a b-line for it, or in unfamiliar hotels, she remembers the way back to our room. She does also keep trying to take me back to the chamber, I think it’s because she knows she gets to relax and have a rest in there.”

The adorable and hard-working guide dog has already received plenty of social media praise, with one follower writing: “Hopefully, it puts a spotlight on the time it takes to train guide dogs and the excellent work that charities like  @guidedogs do. More funding to help people to become trainers which at the moment is largely funded by the public. Great to see."

“Please show more respect and use her full title- Jennie, The goodest girl of the house,” another said.

It’s not been an easy journey for Jennie though, as she was in the news for being the victim of an XL bully attack last year. 

Following the vicious attack in Torquay in 2023, Darling called for more regulations around dog aggression, writing to the Home Office at the time (via BBC): “When dogs, including XL bullies, are bred and reared poorly and denied training, socialisation and good care, aggression becomes more likely. That's what needs tackling.

"We need a fundamental change to the law on dogs acting dangerously to protect the public now and in the future."

Thankfully, Jennie made a full recovery and has been able to join Darling on his journey to becoming an MP, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds for the brilliant guide dog!