Restoration and Renewal (Report of the Joint Committee)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:18 pm on 31st January 2018.

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Photo of Chris Bryant Chris Bryant Chair, Finance Committee (Commons) 5:18 pm, 31st January 2018

“A foothold” is a difficult thing to specify, but some people have said, for instance, that we should keep the Chamber functioning—I guess that is what most people mean. The difficulty with keeping the Chamber running is that the Chamber is not just the Chamber. It is not a hermetically sealed unit; the air conditioning, the heating, the electricity and all the rest of it come from somewhere. The public have to have access through large parts of the building. We would also have to access from somewhere, and it could not just be through some kind of polytunnel. It is actually phenomenally difficult to achieve that.

There was one other option, which was for us to sit in Westminster Hall. I love the idea of sitting in Westminster Hall. The hon. Member for somewhere down in the south-west—Mr Rees-Mogg—and I were joint advocates of that. The problem is that the floor is not solid—there are no solid foundations—and we would have to put something inside the roof, which could destroy it, so there are real problems.