13/07/2016 10:29 BST | Updated 14/07/2017 06:12 BST

MPs Back Plans To Allow Film Companies Greater Access To Parliamentary Estate

Parliament on the big screen is expected to be easier for film companies to recreate after MPs backed plans to give them greater access.

The Commons Administration Committee has supported the principle of allowing photography across the parliamentary estate to help with the design of film sets or development of computer generated imagery (CGI) of the House of Commons. 

As the drama in British politics continues to flow, parliamentary officials are exploring how the extra photography can be allowed without disrupting the work of MPs and peers.

Visitors to the Palace of Westminster are restricted in where they can take photographs for personal use, including Westminster Hall and St Stephen's Hall or in certain rooms with the permission of their host.

Requests for filming in Parliament can also be submitted with the historic venue being used as a movie set for the first time by Suffragette, which tracks the struggle for women to get the vote.

New Palace Yard - under the shadow of Big Ben - was used as a setting along with Central Lobby and a committee room as the Commons authorities allowed commercial filming for the first time in 2014.

Under the latest proposals being considered, production companies would need permission from the Serjeant at Arms and Administration Committee to be allowed to photograph pre-agreed areas of the parliamentary estate in exchange for a fee.

Tory MP Michael Fabricant, who was an adviser and appeared as an extra in the original BBC House Of Cards series, backed the idea of allowing access to the Commons to ensure it is accurately represented in films. 

The Administration Committee member told the Press Association: "If it generates income for the House of Commons I support this initiative, provided that it doesn't disrupt the daily workings of Parliament. 

"The fact is, TV production companies use film sets which accurately or inaccurately depict the House of Commons, and I see no problem in them using the real thing. 

"When I worked in the British House Of Cards TV series some years ago now, the BBC used the set for the chamber of the House of Commons up at Granada Television in Manchester. 

"It looked pretty authentic though it had one row of benches less than the real thing and I might add the benches were less comfy and padded than the real thing." 

The Administration Committee noted in the minutes of a recent meeting: "Resolved, that the committee agree to support the principle of allowing photography on the parliamentary estate in order to create film sets depicting Parliament." 

A parliamentary spokeswoman said: "The Palace of Westminster is an iconic building and commercial filming offers the public a unique opportunity to see Parliament on the big screen and learn about its history and important role in society. 

"All requests are considered on a case-by-case basis and seek to balance access for cameras with the need to minimise disruption to Parliament's core work.

"The option to explore allowing photography - on a case-by-case basis - to facilitate set design provides a non-intrusive means to meet production requests."