The Houses of Parliament Are Probably Going To Shut Down For Six Years

By James O Malley on at

Members of Parliament look set to vacate the Palace of Westminster for six whole years so that the entire building can be refit and refurbished.

According to The Guardian the Westminster Repairs Committee, which is made up of MPs and Lords will be officially recommending that the entire legislature abandon ship, so that important repairs can be made to the crumbling Victorian building.

The move will apparently cost £4bn - and the reason they want to turf everyone out at once is because this is the cheaper option than having the maintenance work carry on with the building still functioning, as that would cost £7.1bn. If the repairs don't take place then it could be disastrous for the Palace, which is listed by the United Nations as a World Heritage Site.

If MPs accept the plan, the builders would move in between 2022 and 2028. It is thought that Parliament would then temporarily set up shop in Richmond House, a hideously ugly building just opposite Downing Street on Whitehall, which currently houses the Department of Health. This would probably be a smart move, as it is basically right next to Portcullis House, a modern set of overflow offices from the main Parliament building which will be able to continue functioning as normal.

Amusingly, it has previously been claimed that because Richmond House is owned by an Islamic Bond Scheme, it has been written into the lease that alcohol cannot be served on site - so to get around this restriction, MPs want to nationalise the Red Lion Pub next door.

MPs still need to officially vote on the move, but it seems inevitable that they'll have to approve it. So get ready for British politics to look rather different. [Guardian and Sky News]