Houses of Parliament: Move out or lose out | Thomas Dray

The Palace of Westminster was once a grand, imposing temple of Democracy, it is a building that gave its name to a system of government used the world over, but today it stands a shambolic pile of crumbling stone left neglected for over 70 years.

The refurbishment of the Palace of Westminster has been the subject of debate for decades with two main proposals being put forward as the main options:

1. Both Houses move out of the palace for 6 years
2. Partial move leaving MP's in the Lords chamber while work is completed around them.

While the second option is the most popular it is also the most expensive at £6Bn almost double the £3.9Bn for the full decant plan, it will also take the longest amount of time, estimated at decades compared to just 6 years for a full move out, but some MP's are horrified at the prospect of leaving the Palace of Westminster fearing they will never return.

While there is a precedent for Parliament to be held elsewhere, in cities such as York, Nottingham and Northampton which have all played hosts to parliaments through the Centuries, but the distance from the Capital worries some MP's who fear that they will lose the use of the Historic building for regular use and for symbolic occasions such as the Queens' Speech.

But although MP's and lords may feel that a temporary departure may lead to them being permanently moved elsewhere, not moving present an even greater risk that the building will be lost either because of spiralling costs or because the Palace becomes unusable as a venue.

But a complete departure from the Palace for 6 years means that they would need a new house, last year the Architects firm, Gensler, proposed a large glass and wood structure that would be erected on a barge located on the Thames next to the Palace, another option would be to use the Methodist Central Hall a venue which hosted the first meeting of the United Nations General Assembly, another option is to use the Queen Elizabeth II Conferance center which has the advantage of being owned by the government.

However, Parliament still need to decide on what way to proceed with the refurbishment of the Palace, a process which has already taken several years, last year a Joint Committee backed the plan for a full move out, but now some MP's think that the final decision should be delegated to a Sponsor board composing of 12 MP's and Lords, an engineer and a Heritage Expert, they board would spend 18 months on conducting a feasibility study and fully costing both plans, this would delay any start o work until 2019.

Parliamentary Officials have warned that any further delay in making a decision increases the risk of a disaster such as a fire, a fate which befell the original Palace in 1934. All sides of the debate agree that the Palace should remain the seat of the Parliament, but this can only happen if MP's and Lords agree on a plan and quickly before it is too late.

Thomas Dray is the founder of Politukal Politics and Politukal Elections. 
Twitter: @ThomasDray17 

Houses of Parliament: Move out or lose out | Thomas Dray Houses of Parliament: Move out or lose out | Thomas Dray Reviewed by Student Voices on 17:00 Rating: 5

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