Parliament renovation could see MPs and peers relocated to Whitehall departments

"Decant proposal" could reportedly see MPs and peers moved to the Department of Health, Treasury or the Foreign Office

By Sebastian Whale

27 Jan 2016

Parliamentarians could be temporarily moved into government departments as part of plans to refurbish the Palace of Westminster over the next decade.

One option under consideration is moving the House of Commons to a chamber in the courtyard of the Department of Health, the Huffington Post and the Guardian report.

The House of Lords, meanwhile, may be moved to courtyards in the Treasury or Foreign Office as part of the 'decant proposal' under consideration by a cross-party committee of MPs and peers.

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Parliament will not be relocated outside of London, the committee is expected to conclude.

A report in July of last year found that the cost of renovating the Palace of Westminster could be more than £2bn higher if MPs and peers refuse to move out.

Consultancy Deloitte studied the options to renovate the crumbling building, and estimated the cost could range from £3.5bn if both Houses of Parliament relocate for the duration of the repairs to £5.7bn if both remain within the existing grounds.

Shadow leader of the commons Chris Bryant informed Labour MPs of the options under consideration by the cross-party committee on Monday evening.

Meanwhile, Commons Leader Chris Grayling is expected to brief the Tories’ backbench 1922 Committee next week, according to the Huffington Post.

The committee in charge of drawing up contingency plans for the refurbishment will make a formal recommendation to Parliament before the Easter recess.

Labour MP Ben Bradshaw backed the full decant option, which would see both Houses move out of the Palace of Westminster during refurbishment.

Mr Bradshaw said: “The cheapest option of both Commons and Lords moving out while the work is done would seem to me to be a no-brainer. It is not only on cost grounds but it is also the option that gives us the best chance of getting a parliament that both works for its staff, MPs and for visitors.”

It comes after Labour MP Chuka Umunna called for the Palace of Westminster to be turned into a museum and parliament be relocated to a more “modern” building. 


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