Parliamentary Works Sponsor Body

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:32 pm on 24th March 2020.

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Photo of Jacob Rees-Mogg Jacob Rees-Mogg Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons 6:32 pm, 24th March 2020

I beg to move,

That Damian Hinds, Sir Robert Syms, Tommy Sheppard and Mark Tami be appointed as Parliamentary members, and that Brigid Janssen, Elizabeth Peace (chair), Marta Phillips, Dr Simon Thurley and Simon Wright be appointed as external members, of the Parliamentary Works Sponsor Body under Part 1, Schedule 1 to the Parliamentary Buildings (Restoration and Renewal) Act 2019.

Last year, the Parliamentary Buildings (Restoration and Renewal) Act 2019 received Royal Assent—indeed, uniquely, it did so twice. The Act established a sponsor body, which will have overall responsibility for the restoration and renewal of the Palace of Westminster, and act as a single client on behalf of both Houses. Since July 2018, the sponsor body has been established in shadow form, and has been getting on with the preparatory and due diligence work, so that it can take on the restoration and renewal programme. From 8 April 2020, the sponsor body will become substantive and formally responsible for the restoration and renewal programme.

As required under the Act, the motion before the House today confirms the appointment of Members from this House to the board of the sponsor body. I wish to take a moment to pay tribute to Sir Patrick McLoughlin and Neil Gray, who have worked tirelessly as members of the shadow sponsor body and to improve the Act during its passage through the House. In addition, this motion confirms the roll-over of external members from the shadow to the substantive sponsor body. That will provide continuity for the board as it becomes established, while allowing for the opportunity for the sponsor board to evaluate the needs for its membership in the future.

Taken together, these appointments ought to strike the right balance between ensuring cross-party support for the works and the appropriate external professionalism and expertise. I wish the appointees every success. The restoration and renewal of this historic Palace will be a significant task, and ensuring that these works represent value for money for the taxpayer, which is perhaps the key thing, will remain absolutely at the forefront of their minds. One of the main aims of this project will be to keep costs down, and Her Majesty’s Government are willing to work collaboratively with the sponsor body in this important mission.