Restoration and Renewal (Report of the Joint Committee)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:29 pm on 31st January 2018.

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Photo of Valerie Vaz Valerie Vaz Shadow Leader of the House of Commons 4:29 pm, 31st January 2018

I agree with the hon. Gentleman that we cannot bind future Parliaments, but I disagree with his other point. I think that when he has heard the rest of what I have to say, he will recognise that that is not the case.

The second issue is that there are new threats. Security, as well as safety, is now a key factor. While work is taking place in Norman Shaw North, Norman Shaw South and Derby Gate under the northern estate programme, all the security considerations will be taken into account. We know what happened at Westminster on 22 March. Our friend and protector PC Keith Palmer died; we were in lockdown. For all sorts of reasons, we need a contingency Chamber. The northern estate programme is on to that; discussions are ongoing with Westminster Council and they have been quite productive. Since the Department of Health and Social Care has now moved out into Victoria Street, it may well be possible to use the space behind the façade of Richmond Terrace, and that could very well be our contingency Chamber; it will become the contingency Chamber when we move back to the House.