It Could Cost £5.7bn To Fix Parliament, MP Says 'Metropolitan Elite' Commons Should Move To Midlands

MPs in the House of Commons in London during a debate on the Queen's Speech.
MPs in the House of Commons in London during a debate on the Queen's Speech.
PA/PA Wire

Fixing the crumbling Houses of Parliament could cost £5.7bn if MPs and peers refuse to move out of the building, a report published on Thursday afternoon said.

The Independent Options Appraisal (IOA) for the Restoration and Renewal of the Palace of Westminster report, compiled by experts including Deloitte Real Estate has set out three broad options for how to deal with the Palace of Westminster's structural problems.

MPs from across the country have been keen to lobby for parliament to move to their constituency in the event the building in Westminster has to be vacated.

The first option would see repairs be made over a period of 32 years as MPs, peers and their staff continued to work in the building. The Commons and Lords chambers would both need to be shut for periods of 2-4 years at different times. This is estimated to cost the public purse £5.7bn.

The second option would see a partial move out of the palace, with the Commons then the Lords moving to temporary accommodation elsewhere. This would cost £4.4bn and take 11 years.

The final option would be the quickest and cheapest. Under this plan everyone working in the Houses of Parliament would relocate to a different building while repair work was completed. It would cost £3.9bn and take around six years.

David Cameron said he had not yet read the report, but added: "in all these things we obviously have to be cost effective".

Labour MP Ian Austin today said if parliament was vacated then it should move outside of London. "Why cannot we move to the midlands—preferably the black country?," the Dudley MP asked.

"It would be much easier for most Members to get to, and it would enable Ministers and the metropolitan elite running the civil service to find out what life is like for the rest of us."

Chris Grayling, the leader of the Commons, said he suspected a debate about alternative venues would result in probably "650 different arguments being made" - a different case made by each MP.