First the West Lothian Question...Now peacocks are the cause close to Tam’s heart

IT IS not often that ex-MPs gain constituents long after they step down.

But Sir Tam Dalyell is set to take charge of eight new residents – each one as colourful as himself.

The political veteran has come to the rescue of a family of peacocks causing havoc for a village community.

Sir Tam – famous for posing the West Lothian Question and among other things questioning the sinking of the Belgrano during the Falklands War – has offered to take on the birds at his House of Binns estate near Linlithgow.

He told the Evening News he became sympathetic when seeing a TV news report of the plight of the birds, who have set up home in the village of Gargunnock in Stirlingshire, much to the annoyance of residents.

“We already have 19 of them here, they’ve been here for some time, about 300 or so years,” said the 79-year-old.

“They are not a friend to gardens, but there is space here they could enjoy. After seeing the news on the television, I offered that if they don’t have anywhere else, they can come here.”

It is thought a pair of peacocks escaped from an owner in the rural village some years ago. They started a family, growing to eight, and have been terrorising the neighbourhood ever since.

Their offences include leaving masses of droppings in gardens, thumping over conservatory roofs, waking up neighbours with loud screams during mating season and wrecking gardens.

One resident complained he had lost 16 cabbages, adding that locals had resorted to fending the birds off with water pistols and brooms. Even the Scottish SPCA admitted defeat in trying to flush them out, saying despite their native terrain being in more tropical climes, they seemed perfectly happy in the forests of Stirlingshire.

Proposals to poison or even destroy their eggs have also been ruled out as it would be almost impossible to keep up.

But Sir Tam added: “It’s not that these people want to kill them or anything like that, they are quite humane about the whole thing. The only difficulty I suppose might be catching them, for me anyway in my 80th year.

“You need to gain their trust then quickly throw either a blanket or a sheet over them without them suspecting anything. Perhaps 40 years ago I would have been a little better at it.”

He added their addition would be a popular fixture at his mansion.

“Enthusiasts with the National Trust would certainly enjoy them,” he said.

“We would be more than happy to take them. We have offered them a last resort, but if anyone else wants to take them that’s fine as well.”