Parliament Moves To Manchester?
Well now this is an interesting one.
Could Parliament, comprising the House of Commons and the House of Lords be on it’s way to Manchester?
Well, it’s a possibility for sure, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.
Parliament, like the UK, to a certain extent is London-centric. The problem with this, is that there is already a prevailing perception that Government and it’s policies are geared towards London and that rather than encouraging development throughout the UK, it is normally primarily focused on London.
Now, there’s of course different views on this, but I guess that’s not really what I’m going to go into at the moment.
Today, it has been reported that Parliament requires semi-urgent restoration with numerous plans drafted by an independent body.
There are two main choices – do they try to restore Parliament whilst it’s still operating, or do they move the staff, MPs and Lords out whilst they do the restoration work.
Presumably, from Governments points of view, it would be preferable for staff to remain working in Parliament whilst the work is done.
But there’s a catch.
Major restoration of the Houses of Parliament without moving MPs and peers out would costs £5.7 billion and take 32 years
Source: BBC – 18/06/2015
Parliament is a Grade I listed building which is now around 150 years old – so there’s no doubt that despite the patch-up work that has been done over the years, this building is probably in serious need of renovation.
It was reported a few years ago that the Parliament building was in such a sorry state that it was on the verge of “major, irreversible damage”.
If everyone moved out whilst the work was carried out – which would most likely be the preferred option for contractors then the cost could be ‘only’ £3.5bn and take approximately 6 years.
Less money, and substantially less time – but politicians might not been keen on that idea and ultimately, the politicians are the ones who are going to vote on which option we go with.
But, if they did move out, where would they go?
As much as I would like to suspend the Conservative majority government, there’s no way we could not have any government for 6 years.
The front runners for temporarily hosting the MPs are:
- Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre (London)
- Olympic Park media centre (London)
- Birmingham Library
- Manchester Town Hall
Now, I’d love to see Parliament come to Manchester, even if only temporarily. Maybe many MP’s will finally understand that there are parts of the UK north of London?
However, I think it all likelihood, the majority of MP’s would probably vote to not move to far away, if they agree to leave at all.
So the most likely would be Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre or the Olympic Park media centre, both of which are pretty close to the current Parliament building.
Frank Field, Labour MP has commented:
Relocating Parliament to the North of Enhland would “change the face of Britain as we know it”
And he’s right – it most certainly would – and it would indeed be an interesting move that I would welcome.
Of course, there are a lot of Tories that think any idea of moving out of London is absurd.
Putting this to one side, during these austere times it’s going to be extremely hard for any government to convince the British public that spending billions of pounds restoring and modernising Parliament is a fair or worthwhile action – no matter how much it is needed.
I would imagine that most peoples feelings are that politicians should suck it up, especially as they all likely have some constituents that are living in substandard accommodation.
I don’t think even the Tories would be brave enough at this point to try and push this through.
A vote on this issue is likely to be held, at the moment, in 2020.
What’s your view? Please feel free to share it below.