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Commons Leader backs calls for MPs to tour UK as Houses of Parliament are repaired

17 Jan 2023 3 minute read
Workmen carrying out a survey in the House of Lords. Photo Houses of Parliament Restoration and Renewal

Penny Mordaunt has backed suggestions that Parliament could tour the country if the Palace of Westminster needs to close for restoration.

The Commons Leader said she would attempt to minimise the amount of time MPs spent away from Westminster, but added they could use a tour of the country to generate “excitement” and restore faith in politics.

She said: “If there is a period of time we need to be out of the building, we have got more options about how to squeeze that down to the minimum possible time.

“And whilst we’re out – we might be using some technology to meet – why don’t we use that as an opportunity to maybe visit different parts of the country, generate a bit of excitement? There’s all sorts of things we could do off the back of it.”

Ms Mordaunt made her comments at an event hosted by the Institute for Government on Tuesday, responding to questions about long-running plans to restore the crumbling 19th century palace.

Arguments

Arguments about how to repair Parliament have been going on for more than 20 years, and current proposals suggest MPs could have to leave the building for at least a decade.

But Ms Mordaunt said there was still not enough clarity on what work needed to be done, adding that a full schedule of works would be produced over the coming year.

She said: “We have changed how we are going to do this to be much more pragmatic and rather than enormous great schemes that would shut down Parliament for years and be politically impossible, we have a proper schedule of works that need to be done.”

Plans put forward last year by Michael Gove, the former Levelling Up Secretary, that peers should move to another part of the country while the House of Lords undergoes restoration work, were described as  “bonkeroony” by Baroness Hayman, a former Labour MP at the time.

Mr Gove was said to have suggested locations including Wales, Scotland and Stoke-on-Trent, Burnley and Sunderland in England.

Cost estimates

Estimates of the cost of restoring Parliament range from £7 billion to £22 billion, depending on whether Parliament needs to sit during the restoration, but Ms Mordaunt said she expected a lot of work could be fitted around normal parliamentary business or within a longer summer recess.

She also suggested that technology could be used to reduce the cost, including resurrecting the hybrid sittings and remote voting used during the pandemic.

Ms Mordaunt said the remote voting system had cost £1.3 million and operated for just eight days, but had been shown to work and could be used again.

Asked whether the restoration and renewal project could be used to change the way Parliament operates, she said: “We should be renewing more than the building.

“Democracy is fragile and one of the motivations for getting Parliament to be able to work better and be more relevant for people is allowing people to have more faith in democracy.”


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Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
19 days ago

Yes Penny dear, why don’t you listen to Govey and visit Wales and Scotland to see how to design and build a debating chamber? You’ll never want to go back to your crumbling pit.

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
19 days ago
Reply to  Fi yn unig

P.S. She should take into account that neither Y Senedd nor Holyrood will want to see nor host their shower of non democrats.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
19 days ago

A farewell tour…

Sounds like a job for Cyngor Caerdydd…

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
19 days ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

I would say that the Palace of Westminster is in greater danger from rising sea levels than Fairbourne, for instance…

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
19 days ago

The vulgar expense of repairing that white elephant monolith Westminster, a symbol of Germanic English imperialism, where in 1535 facist Henry VIII passed into English law legislation the eradication a native people’s language, culture & political system from existence with the Act of Union Wales was state sponsored genocide. And even today in 2023 some 465 years later there’s never been an apology or acknowledgment of any by England’s Westminster government or English monarch to that atrocity and ethnic cleansing. Oh but Ireland received an apology from Queen Elizabeth on her visit to Dublin in 2011 but Wales has never… Read more »

Karl
Karl
19 days ago

Keep it in England. Gove once came to Pontypridd to claim eu fundong as levelling up. We don’t need 651 of the idiots claiming nonsense

Rhosddu
Rhosddu
18 days ago

“Generate a bit of excitement and restore faith in politics” by driving over to Scotland and Wales and bigging up Westminster?. Yeh, that’ll work…

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
18 days ago

What an ideal opportunity to sort out the constitution. Construct a new debating chamber to house the English Parliament only. A seamless transition with no fuss, no sabre rattling and no referenda. This will end the repugnant and ongoing denial of nationhood for Wales and Scotland while delivering to England its’ own very existence as a nation. I have a dream.

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