Parliament building work ‘may force Lords to retire’
Peers may step down from their seats in the House of Lords if they are forced to relocate during plans for £4bn refurbishment of Parliament, one former minister has warned.
Former Conservative chief whip Lord Blencathra said he expected a number of Lords to permanently retire from the house if plans for building work get the green light from the second chamber.
Peers are expected to vote on plans to move out of the Palace of Westminster for six years from 2025, after MPs decided to agree a major renovation of the building.
The Leader of the Commons, Andrea Leadsom, told colleagues the likelihood of a "major failure" grew with every year repairs were delayed.
She pointed out that in the last decade there had been 60 incidents that could have caused a fire.
Some members are expected to try and block plans to “decant” to alternative buildings while work is carried out, forcing them to lose access to the library, restaurants and cafés.
However, Lord Blencathra warned Lords there were “stewards” of the building and it was their duty to let in repair teams.
“I have in mind the possibility of decanting out of Parliament to the [Queen Elizabeth II conference centre in Westminster] in 2023 or 2024…I suspect there will be a rush of peers wishing to retire then.”
While the current plan is to move the work of Parliament to an alternative building in Whitehall, several MPs have suggested relocating to a city outside London.