Restoration and Renewal (Report of the Joint Committee)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:53 pm on 31st January 2018.

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Photo of John Hayes John Hayes Conservative, South Holland and The Deepings 5:53 pm, 31st January 2018

Indeed.

After the great fire of 1834, there was the major refurbishment—in fact, it was largely a rebuilding of the Palace—that led to the place where we now sit. Buildings of this kind are always hard to maintain and will always require constant maintenance work. This is not a moment; it is a process. It will be an ongoing process whatever decision we take tonight. Let me make my case as quickly as I can—particularly given your advice, Mr Speaker.

I could make this case on cost grounds. Indeed the report produced by the Leader of the House is very honest about that. The report heavily qualifies the estimates therein. It says that there is significantly more work to be done by professionals before budgets can be set and the accounts therefore made certain. We are not absolutely certain what the costs of the decant would be, nor are we absolutely certain what the costs of staying here would be. But what I think we can say, from all of our experience and intuition, is that they are likely to be considerably greater than the provisional costs that we have now. Every building project I have ever known has run over budget and over time.