Restoration and Renewal (Report of the Joint Committee)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:12 pm on 31st January 2018.

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Photo of Damian Green Damian Green Conservative, Ashford 5:12 pm, 31st January 2018

I will be brief because I want to concentrate on only one aspect of the debate, which is safety. I know that there are important issues to be discussed about costs, timing, and whether we have a full or partial move out. For the record, I support those who say that we must be clear that Parliament should stay in the Palace of Westminster in the long term. But before we consider these long-term issues, we need to look at what is happening here, today and every day. What is happening is that we are asking not only ourselves and our staff, but also thousands of visitors, to come to a building that is not safe.

It might be an exaggeration to say that Parliament is a death trap, but it would not be a wild exaggeration. Anyone who has taken the tour of the basement will have seen the full horror of the current arrangements. We have already heard about the regular fires that break out. I think the Leader of the House said that there have been 60 over the past 10 years, and 12 in the past year alone. Chunks of masonry have fallen off high parts of the building. We are lucky that no one has been killed so far because of this. It is not remotely conceivable that people would be allowed to work here if this were a normal building, let alone that thousands of tourists would be allowed to visit it.