Restoration and Renewal (Report of the Joint Committee)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:55 pm on 31st January 2018.

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Photo of Andrea Leadsom Andrea Leadsom Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons 3:55 pm, 31st January 2018

My hon. Friend makes a good point, but I think part of the role of the delivery authority will be to look at the best combination of cost, respect for our parliamentary democracy and, of course, the right solution for this Palace, which is what this debate is all about.

If motion 2 is successful, the sponsor board and delivery authority must consider three options: first, full decant; second, partial decant with access to one Chamber at all times; and third, full decant with a parliamentary foothold, allowing for parliamentary access during the works, such as to Westminster Hall and Elizabeth Tower. It is important to note that the second motion before the House today does not commit to a final decision. By asking a delivery authority to further evaluate those three options, parliamentarians and the public can be confident that the delivery authority will take into account the risks, costs and benefits of each approach, as well as accommodating the needs of our parliamentary democracy, before recommending its final, preferred, fully costed option in 12 to 18 months’ time. Motion 2 allows those who support the Joint Committee’s recommendations to see them properly stress-tested.

For the clarification of Members, motion 2 differs from amendment (b) to motion 1 in two key ways. First, the amendment recommends a single option of full decant. The first problem with this is the lack of decant accommodation available to us under the current plans until 2025. The amendment does not allow us to proceed any quicker with a full programme of work than motion 2 allows for. The second problem is the fact that the Joint Committee report itself acknowledged that, while recommending full decant, it had not fully costed that option. The amendment to motion 1 therefore does not settle the issue of value for taxpayers’ money.