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.
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