The PM’s suggestion that Parliament could move to York is either wilfully obstructive or a lazy attempt to gain headlines

16 July 2020

The Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been quoted today as saying that MPs and Lords could be moved to York for six years for the restoration and repair of the Palace of Westminster.

This is despite there already being a plan, agreed last year, which is both deliverable and safe for parliamentary staff. Currently, the Houses of Parliament are in such disrepair that bits are falling off. A proper restoration is essential.

Garry Graham, deputy general secretary of Prospect, responded to the news:

“Instead of seeking a quick headline about moving Parliament to York, the Prime Minister and Government should concentrate on the key issue; providing a safe 21st century Parliament for MPs, thousands of visitors and the 3,000 staff without whom Parliament simply could not function.

“Parliament agreed on the restoration and renewal legislation only a year ago. It provided for a full decant of both Commons and Lords; by common consent, the safest and best value for money way of providing the modern parliament we all seek. This intervention by the Prime Minister is either a wilful attempt to influence and derail the current review of the project, or a lazy intervention of the kind we see all too often from the current regime.

“Parliamentary staff will see how little regard the Prime Minister has for their safety if, as a result of this intervention, the safest option to carry out the essential refurbishment of Parliament is discarded.”