26/08/2012 16:06 BST | Updated 26/08/2012 16:09 BST

Houses Of Parliament Could Be Closed For Five Years In Refurbishment Plans

Parliament could be relocated for up to five years whilst essential repairs are made, according to commons officials.

Whilst Westminster's rotten plumbing, asbestos panels and creaking electrics are overhauled, MPs would either be housed in temporary chamber or a conference centre half a mile away, reported the Sunday Times.

The temporary evacuation is one of the options being suggested in an ongoing report into the renovation of Westminister by the House of Commons Commission, chaired by Speaker John Bercow.

Architect Charles Barry designed the building in the Perpendicular Gothic style

Commons officials believe moving the House of Commons and House of Lords to a different location is the most cost effective option, at an estimated £3 bn cost to the taxpayer.

"We either move out or spend £10bn over 20 or 30 years trying to do the work during the summer recess," a commons official told the Sunday Times.

In January the Commons Commission agreed a year long study should be conducted into renovating the Grade I listed building.

There were fears that Big Ben was leaning, the construction of tube tunnels had caused cracks to appear in the walls. It was even thought that parliament may be sinking into the Thames, putting the lives of those who work in Westminster in danger.

Fears that Big Ben was leaning and that Parliament was sinking drove the year-long study into possible options. However Bercow said that the building was "structurally safe"

Additionally, the building is known for its rodent problem and leaky toilets. Theresa May has had to deal with suspicious liquid dripping down from the ceiling, whilst senior Tory official Iain Corby told the Times " a waterfall" poured into the parliamentary Labour Party office last year.

Despite that a number of MPs have criticised the moving of parliament, with Greg Hands Conservative MP for Chelsea and Fulham calling it an "absurd proposal"

Nadine Dorries claimed that in the Houses of Parliament "what we have is unique and passionate" but admitted that "rodents were a problem"

Ian Lavery MP for Wansbeck tweeted that parliament was a "superb place" but suggested instead of holing up in a replica whilst the repairs were made, why not have parliamentary sessions across the country.

Labour's Deputy Leader in the Lords, Philip Hunt said it was a good opportunity to move parliament to "beautiful Brum"

The SNP's Pete Wishart MP expressed astonishment at the price tag for planned refurbishment of the Houses of Parliament, claiming the price tag showed the importance of Scottish independence.

"This puts the much-criticised Holyrood project into perspective. With estimates for refurbishment, let alone relocations, starting at an incredible £3 billion, it is seven times the final bill for the Scottish Parliament - and that's before the work even gets off the ground.

"This massive bill is one 'union dividend' that the anti-independence campaigners won't be keen to put on their flyers.

"A yes vote in the independence referendum in 2014 will save people in Scotland that enormous cost and move all decisions to a modern, progressive Parliament at Holyrood."