Ministers have put back a debate on the huge and increasingly urgent programme of works required at the dilapidated Palace of Westminster
MPs were due to discuss the future of the home of the Houses of Commons and Lords on 11 January but leader of the House of Commons Andrea Leadsom postponed the debate after being urged not to hold it on a Thursday, as MPs whose constituencies are a long distance away tend to return on Thursdays and parliamentary attendance can consequently be low.
A statement from the Palace of Westminster Restoration and Renewal Programme said: ‘The debate to discuss the future of the Palace of Westminster and the increasingly urgent works, originally set in the Commons for 11 January 2018, has been postponed by the government to a yet-to-be-confirmed future date.’
It added: ‘Andrea Leadsom announced before Christmas that the government will now look to find a suitable alternative date, taking account of representations she had received for the debate not to be scheduled on a Thursday.’
Last year BDP beat Foster + Partners, Allies and Morrison and HOK to win the design contract for the restoration, which could cost as much as £6 billion. CH2M was chosen to deliver programme, project and cost management services on the scheme.
An independent options appraisal drawn up by HOK more than two years ago suggested five main scenarios for parliament’s overhaul, depending to what extent MPs stayed in the building while works were done.
Last month, Michael Hopkins, the architect of Portcullis House, said MPs could use the 2001 building’s atrium as a temporary chamber while the Houses of Parliament were being restored.
Paul Finch this week warned that a lack of expertise was hampering attempts to work out a strategy for the refurbishment project.