Parliament For Sale? Fears Building Could Sink Into Thames

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MPs will discuss selling the Palace of Westminster amid concerns over its long-term future on Monday.
MPs will discuss selling the Palace of Westminster amid concerns over its long-term future on Monday.

MPs will discuss selling the Palace of Westminster amid concerns over its long-term future on Monday.

Subsidence caused by work on Parliament's underground car park and the construction of new Tube tunnels have led to cracks appearing in walls around the Houses of Commons and Lords, with Big Ben's bell tower leaning 18in at its peak.

There are even fears the building could sink into the Thames.

MPs on the House of Commons Commission, which is responsible for the upkeep of the Parliamentary estate, meet today to discuss a surveyor's report that suggests options for dealing with the problems, including repairs to the mock-Gothic building which may mean peers and MPs temporarily moving out.

The most radical solution would be to sell the estate and move into new offices, though politicians are unlikely to abandon such a famous and prestigious Grade I-listed location.

A Commons spokesman told The Sunday Times: "The commission will be considering whether to ask officials from both Houses to undertake a study into the long-term approach to the maintenance of Parliament.

"No decisions are likely to be taken for several years as to whether either House will need to move out of the palace for a period to allow essential work to take place."

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