It is called the “mother of all parliaments” but the ancient structure by the Thames is in need of urgent repair, prompting a parliamentary panel to suggest that all MPs and lords “decant” to temporary accommodation for some years while it is restored.
The committee on restoration and renovation of the palace of Westminster has suggested that a “complete decant” of the palace for the duration of the repairs is the best option.
“The Palace of Westminster, a masterpiece of Victorian and medieval architecture and engineering, faces an impending crisis which we cannot responsibly ignore,” the committee said.
“It is impossible to say when this will happen, but there is a substantial and growing risk of either a single, catastrophic event, such as a major fire, or a succession of incremental failures in essential systems which would lead to Parliament no longer being able to occupy the Palace.”
Listing the problems, the panel said those who work in the building will be all too familiar with stories of flooding, power failures, fire hazards, freezing cold rooms in winter and boiling hot offices in summer.
Members of the committee said the decision to repair and renovate could not be postponed any longer to protect one of the most important and iconic parts of Britain’s national heritage.
“We have concluded that there is a clear and pressing need to tackle the work required to the Palace of Westminster and to do so in a comprehensive and strategic manner to prevent catastrophic failure in the next decade. We have also concluded that, in principle, a full decant of the Palace of Westminster presents the best option under which to deliver this work,” the committee said.