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 two important points. One is that we do need to get on with it, and the second concerns the importance of planning for this. It is vital that we get good value for taxpayers’ money. Roughly, the projections show that we will be spending £90 million a year, of which roughly half will be throwaway once we get on with R and R, and the other half will be work that needs to be done anyway and will not be throwaway. They are the sorts of numbers we are looking at. We do need to get on and take a decision, but we must fully cost the best value for taxpayers’ money.

I have listened closely to the very real concerns expressed by colleagues—that in some way we might be forced out, never to return to this place. Both of today’s motions are intended to make it explicit that this is not, and will not, be the case. To put the matter beyond doubt, and recognising the depth of concerns from some colleagues, I am happy to confirm today that were the House to agree that we must take action now, the commitment to returning to the Palace will be enshrined in the legislation that the Government will subsequently introduce to set up the sponsor body and delivery authority. It will be on the face of the Bill, putting the matter beyond doubt.