Palace of Westminster: Repair and Refurbishment

Oral Answers to Questions — House of Commons Commission – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 12th July 2018.

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Photo of Deidre Brock Deidre Brock Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Devolved Government Relations), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Environment and Rural Affairs), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Wales) 12:00 am, 12th July 2018

To ask the right hon. Member for Carshalton and Wallington, representing the House of Commons Commission, what recent estimate the Commission has made of the cost of repairing and refurbishing the Palace of Westminster.

Photo of Tom Brake Tom Brake Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (International Trade), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Exiting the European Union)

The Commission has made no such estimate. It will be for the sponsor board and delivery authority, which the two Houses agreed earlier this year to establish, to develop a proposed scope of works and budget for agreement by Parliament.

Photo of Deidre Brock Deidre Brock Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Devolved Government Relations), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Environment and Rural Affairs), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Wales)

With the eye-watering bill estimated so far for here, the similarly-eye watering bill for Buckingham Palace, and the biggest bill of all, the bill we will pay for Brexit, is it any wonder that the public are losing confidence in politicians? Is there not still time to decide to move out of London to a purpose-built modern Parliament with sensible things such as electronic voting? If not, is there at least a team looking at how to cut the cost of this nonsense?

Photo of Tom Brake Tom Brake Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (International Trade), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Exiting the European Union)

I am sure that the hon. Lady will be aware that the possibility of moving out of London has been considered. The joint Commission that was set up through both Houses looked at that matter and dismissed it as a proposal. The sponsor body and the delivery authority will have responsibility for making sure that the costs of the project are kept to a minimum while delivering a prestigious project on a world heritage building.

Photo of Patrick McLoughlin Patrick McLoughlin Conservative, Derbyshire Dales

Is that not exactly the point? This is a world heritage building and if it was in the ownership of any individual, the state would require them to keep it up to a certain standard. That is exactly what we have to do as the owners of this building.

Photo of Tom Brake Tom Brake Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (International Trade), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Exiting the European Union)

Of course we have to. I am sure that Members on both sides of the House will want to ensure that the sponsor body and the delivery authority between them deliver exactly the sort of project that the right hon. Gentleman set out.