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MPs - Mumbling Procrastinators To Debate Westminster As It Falls Down Around Their Ears

MPs - Mumbling Procrastinators To Debate Westminster As It Falls Down Around Their Ears
Dec 1
👤 by Brian Shillibeer

A date has now been set for MPs to debate the future of the Houses of Parliament, which faces major and increasingly urgent repairs.

It's well over a year (Week ending September 9) that a Joint Committee concluded the Palace of Westminster ‘faces an impending crisis which we cannot responsibly ignore’...leading to both sides of the Houses completely ignoring the problem yet again.

 On Thursday 11 January 2018, the House of Commons will debate how best to carry out the work that needs to be done on the building. N.B. This is exactly the same debate that has taken place over and over again and for year after recent year.

In 2015 the Joint Committee on the Palace of Westminster was established to examine the possible options for carrying out this work.

The Committee published its report (September 2016 as above). It said that there is a substantial and growing risk of either a single, catastrophic event, such as a major fire or a succession of incremental failures in essential systems which would lead to Parliament no longer being able to occupy the Palace.

The Government has set a motion, which is yet to be published, is expected to allow for a sponsor board and delivery authority to be established to oversee and deliver the Programme and consider the options for how the work could be delivered. Something that has been before Parliament for year after recent year.

The Government has 'indicated' (yet a again) that the three likely options are:

  • Full move out – both Houses move out of the Palace for the duration of the works.
  • Partial move out – one House will move out at a time.
  • A foothold is retained in Parliament, for example in Westminster Hall, during the works.

The Government has also indicated that once the risks, costs and benefits of the options have been explored (again) and if both Houses agree with the Sponsor Board’s recommended option following a further vote, then the chosen option will be taken forward to the design and delivery phase.

It is expected that the House of Lords will also hold its debate shortly after the Commons.


Timeline so far

Pre-feasibility study – published in October 2012

In 2012 the House of Commons Commission and the House of Lords House Committee commissioned a Pre-Feasibility Study. The study indicated that, unless significant conservation work is undertaken, major and irreversible damage may be done to the building. Both Houses agreed to commission an independent options appraisal to investigate the costs and a range of options for the restoration and renewal of the Palace of Westminster.


Independent Options Appraisal – published June 2015

In December 2013, a consortium led by Deloitte Real Estate, including AECOM and HOK, was appointed to produce an independent appraisal of the options for the Restoration and Renewal of the Palace of Westminster. Their Independent Options Appraisal (IOA) was published on 18 June 2015.


Joint Committee on the Palace of Westminster – report published September 2016

The Joint Committee on the Palace of Westminster was appointed by both Houses in July 2015. The Committee’s inquiry addressed two main themes from the IOA: the broad scope of the work to be carried out and how the works should be delivered. The Joint Committee report was published on 8 September 2016. The report can be found on the Restoration and Renewal Programme web pages. 

Picture: Yet another date has been set aside for MPs to talk about urgent works to the Palace of Westminster






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