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Amendment 2

Part of Parliamentary Buildings (Restoration and Renewal) Bill - Committee – in the House of Lords at 5:00 pm on 22nd July 2019.

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Photo of Baroness Altmann Baroness Altmann Conservative 5:00 pm, 22nd July 2019

I strongly endorse the remarks of the noble Lord, Lord Adonis, and respectfully request that I put some alternative views to the House. I take the noble Baroness’s point that this is about the renovation and restoration of this Parliament, but this amendment having been put down, I think it is important that the House hears a range of views. Otherwise, an amendment of this nature, which would undermine the important purpose that is intended for a site right next to our Parliament, may pass automatically.

As my noble friend Lord Polak said, the project would take up just 7.5% of Victoria Tower Gardens, and it is intended to offer substantial improvements to the gardens. It will link the existing memorials to historic battles against injustice, and the Buxton memorial to the abolition of slavery will be preserved. The project provides for new pathways and playgrounds and has carefully looked at protecting the trees in the gardens.

I am hugely grateful to the Government and my party for approving the construction of this memorial, and that it will be situated in such a powerfully symbolic location. I hope that the concerns of noble Lords, which have been carefully and respectfully expressed, can be overcome with further discussions about the plans already in place and the careful consideration of the design, which is intended to avoid disruption. Disruption is inevitable whenever restoration is carried out, as will be the case with the restoration of Parliament, or, if one is building a Holocaust memorial and museum on any other site. However, I understand also the concerns of local residents, and that there are strong reservations.

I urge noble Lords to consider whether this particular amendment to this particular Bill is addressing the correct issue at the correct time, and whether we should have a broader consideration of the merits of the Holocaust memorial as it is currently proposed.