Relocation of Parliament

Oral Answers to Questions — House of Commons Commission – in the House of Commons on 20th June 2019.

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Photo of Gavin Shuker Gavin Shuker Independent, Luton South

What assessment the Commission has made of the potential merits of permanently moving Parliament outside London.

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

An option to move Parliament out of the Palace of Westminster to a new purpose-built building was included in the restoration and renewal pre-feasibility study of 2012. The House of Commons Commission reviewed that study in October that year and decided to rule the option out, agreeing that no further analysis would be undertaken on it. The House of Lords Commission took a similar view, and that commitment was reaffirmed by the Joint Committee on the Palace of Westminster in 2016, and more recently, in resolutions of both Houses in 2018.

Photo of Gavin Shuker Gavin Shuker Independent, Luton South

I note the right hon. Gentleman’s answer, but when we rebuilt this Chamber, Churchill said:

“We shape our buildings and afterwards our buildings shape us.”—[Official Report, 28 October 1943;
Vol. 393, c. 403.]

Given just how broken our political culture has now been demonstrated to be, does the right hon. Gentleman agree that it is time to take a bold approach and move into a modern Parliament in one of the great cities of the UK?

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

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his supplementary question; I might have expected him to call for Parliament to be moved to Luton, but he did not. Clearly a decision has been taken. Some of the things that he would like might be possible for the temporary Chamber—that matter that was raised earlier—and I hope that he will want to make a written submission pressing for that Chamber to be used to trial and test some of the things that would improve our democracy.