John Bercow said it would be a ‘huge pity’ if MPs had to ‘abandon the site’, but that keeping the house ‘fit for purpose’ would require a ‘not inconsequential sum of public money’.
The Houses of Parliament may have to be abandoned if £3billion repairs are not done, the Commons Speaker warned last night.
John Bercow claimed a massive repair and modernisation programme was needed within a decade to ensure the Palace of Westminster remained safe and useable – otherwise, it could close within 20 years.
Speaking in Westminster, he said it would be a ‘huge pity’ if MPs had to ‘abandon the site’ because it had become unsafe.
But he said keeping the Houses of Parliament ‘fit for purpose’ would require a ‘not inconsequential sum of public money’ within the next decade.
He said: ‘This is a fabulous institution located in awesome surroundings. It must not have the ethos of a museum.
‘It will require bold, imaginative leadership to ensure we are a Parliament fit for purpose and this Victorian legacy can be rendered practical for contemporary representation.’
Referring to the blaze that burned down the old palace of Westminster in 1834, Mr Bercow said: ‘It would be a huge pity if we decided that by the time we had reached the 200th anniversary of the vast fire which consumed the old parliament and brought this one in to being, we had to abandon this site and look elsewhere in order to serve the public interest properly.
‘Yet I will tell you in all candour that unless management of the very highest quality and a not inconsequential sum of public money are deployed on this estate over the next 10 years, that will be the outcome.’
The cost of repairing the Houses of Parliament could top £3 billion, an examination of options for renovating the historic building has suggested.
BBC Director-general Lord Tony Hall has said he believes the licence fee ‘has got at least another ten years in it’, adding that even if the fee is axed, he said it should be replaced by an equivalent charge.
Youth unemployment, racism, and the suprising number of Ukippers who like investing in wine
It’s the weekend, so everybody is publishing their polls. We’ve looked a little bit deeper into the data for you to find six things that stand out.
1. The two main parties are still broadly neck-and-neck
YouGov’s Sunday Times poll gives Labour a 34% to 33% lead over the Tories, and their poll for The Sun gives Labour a 33% to 32% lead.
2. Labour and Ukip supporters think they have been hit hardest by the economic down-turn
59% of Labour supporters and 56% of Ukip supporters say that “Thinking about the standard of living of you and your family” they are “worse off today than in 2010”
This compares to 38% of Lib Dem supporters and just 21% of Conservative supporters who feel worse off.
3. “Team Eds” still have work to do with their hardcore support
35% of Labour voters agree that Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, and Ed Balls, Labour’s shadow Chancellor “have not set out a clear vision of what a Labour government would do”
4. Labour is more trusted to deal with youth unemployment
Just about. Asked “Which political party do you think would handle the problem of youth unemployment best?” 30% of people said Labour, 25% said Conservative.
5. Ukip supporters are more likely to have “wine or art bought for investment purposes”
OK, we’re being a bit naughty here. It is a very small sample size, but 3% of the Ukip voters asked had bought wine or art as an investment, compared to 2% of the Tories, and 1% of the Labour or Lib Dem supporters.
But a staggering 10% of Ukip supporters say they are PLANNING to invest in wine or art in the next 12 months.
Beer drinking Nigel will not be amused.
ReutersDoes he not like that
6. The racist non-racist parties
YouGov asked questions about race and racism. 1% of Tory voters and 1% of Labour voters said they were “very prejudiced against people of other races”. 6% of Ukip supporters agreed with that position. 42% of Ukip supporters said they were “a little prejudiced against people of other races”.
28% of Ukip supporters said that “yes, I have some views that are racist”, but it was Lib Dem supporters who admitted to being the most anti-semitic. 9% of Lib Dems and 8% of Ukip supporters said they are prejudiced against people who are Jewish, compared to 3% of Conservative and Labour supporters.
[Source: YouGov / Sunday Times , YouGov / The Sun , YouGov / Times Red Box ]