WATCH: Parliament move to York 'highly unlikely', says Jacob Rees-Mogg
Jacob Rees-Mogg said a move to York is unlikely
Moving both Houses of Parliament to York while major works are carried out in Westminster is "highly unlikely", Jacob Rees-Mogg has admitted.
The Commons leader said the need for close proximity to the Queen made the northern transfer a doubtful option.
It follows reports of Boris Johnson floating the city as a "possible location" for a temporary move while the multi-billion pound renewal project, due to get underway in the mid-2020s, is carried out.
Conservative MP Bernard Jenkin used a debate on Thursday as an opportunity to question Mr Rees-Mogg on whether he envisaged lawmakers returning to the Houses of Parliament when works are complete.
"He has laid great emphasis on saving the building, the Palace of Westminster, but can he just clarify it is the policy of the government that it should be saved in order that it should be the home of our national parliament permanently?," he said.
Mr Rees-Mogg, whose office leads on the restoration project, said: "I would remind my Honourable Friend between 1305 and 1335, Parliament met in York 11 times. But when Edward IV tried to get it to move to York, it was unsuccessful.
"And so it will end up being a matter for Parliamentarians as to where this House sits, though strictly speaking, the meeting of Parliament is called by the sovereign, to her palace at Westminster, and that I think is something that would be highly unlikely to change without the acceptance of Parliamentarians."
The Commons leader described the Houses of Parliament as "the home, the throne, the palace of our democracy".
MPs and peers are expected to be out of their Westminster World Heritage Site base for up to five years as part of the plans, billed as “the biggest heritage restoration ever undertaken in the UK”, but no final decision on where they will go has yet been put forward.
The PM said that while London locations including Richmond House, City Hall and Westminster’s QEII Centre as possible sites for a relocation, “the review should also consider a possible location outside London”.