Mon, 15 August 2022

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MPs set to delay move away from Parliament as May fears vote defeat

MPs set to delay move away from Parliament as May fears vote defeat

John Ashmore

2 min read

MPs are set to stay in the Palace of Westminster for the length of this Parliament because the Tories want to avoid a potentially embarrassing rebellion from their own MPs. 

The Commons had been set to vote on whether to move out in 2022, which may be the year of the general election, provided the Conservatives can keep their minority government in place for the next five years.

But the Times reports that the Conservatives will now shelve that vote to avoid a showdown with MPs who are unhappy about plans to leave the Victorian building.

“You would have to have boulders falling down from the turrets before we leave," a government source told the paper.

Further delaying the move will add another £200m to a six-year rebuilding project with an estimated cost to the taxpayer of £3.6bn.

It will also mean delaying work on a new temporary chamber, which had been planned for Richmond House, the current home of the Department of Health. 

MPs involved in drawing up the restoration plans are apparently anxious that costs will spiral the longer the decision is put off. 

There have also been warnings of a "catastrophic event" if repairs to the crumbling structure are left too long. 

Some parts of the Palace require expensive 24-hour fire inspection teams to ensure they are still legally safe to use. 

The parliamentary estate is beset by problems including faulty wiring and leaking roofs, with emergency repairs alone costing around £100m a year.

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