Clause 123 - Interpretation of part 4

Building Safety Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 11:45 am on 21st October 2021.

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Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Eddie Hughes Eddie Hughes Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)

The clause contains key definitions used in part 4 of the Bill. It also clarifies the fact that the requirements in part 4 do not apply to the Palace of Westminster. For example, the clause refers to clause 59, citing that we have defined a “building safety risk” as

“a risk to the safety of people in or about a building” due to “the spread of fire” or “structural failure”. We see those definitions as appropriate and considered, and they are an important addition to aid the understanding of the various clauses that refer to those terms. The clause provides for a specific place in part 4 that can act as a helpful index of the defined terms used in said part.

Photo of Ruth Cadbury Ruth Cadbury Shadow Minister (Housing, Communities and Local Government) (Planning)

I am intrigued to know why the Palace of Westminster is included. I do not believe it comes under a definition of a residential building, because I thought only one household lives here. We also know that it is a historic building that is a fire risk and has lots of risks, but it cannot be unique in that, either. Why is it in particular drawn out in the Bill?

Photo of Eddie Hughes Eddie Hughes Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)

On the question of one person officially residing here, it may be that two people end up officially residing here at some point due to historical reasons, so it was worth taking it out, just in case that situation could fluctuate. With regard to other elements of the building’s safety, other legislation applies and ensures safety.

Photo of Ruth Cadbury Ruth Cadbury Shadow Minister (Housing, Communities and Local Government) (Planning)

I realise that the other person who once resided here was Emily Davison, who resided one night in the broom cupboard downstairs. I wonder whether that is the second resident to whom the Minister refers.

Photo of Eddie Hughes Eddie Hughes Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)

I am embarrassed to say that historically I am not completely clear about that.

Photo of Peter Dowd Peter Dowd Labour, Bootle

Order. I would appreciate it if Members intervened while the Minister is on his feet. Otherwise, if we are not careful, we will end up with some sort of badminton.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 123 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 58 ordered to stand part of the Bill.