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In the News

Should we temporarily move Parliament to Birmingham?

Jonny Clark

9th September 2016

I know I've blogged about this issue before, but the full costs and proposals for repairing Westminster Palace are starting to emerge this week. The possible cost of refurbishment (due to leakages, the remnants of asbestos and pests) is predicted to be nearly £4bn. It will also mean that MPs and Lords will have to relocate temporarily (for up to 8 years in principle) whilst the repairs take place.

It looks like the current plan will be to move MPs to a building used by the Department of Health and the Lords to the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre (across the road!) - it would seem that this may be the cheapest option with the least disruption.

This article from the Guardian, however, recommends that during the refurbishment, the two Houses should move to a completely different location. The argument given is that current trust and enthusiasm towards our established political institutions appears to be at a low. The Brexit vote can be attributed, in part, as a popular rebuttal of Parliament (whose members were generally in favour of remaining in the EU). The article suggests that by moving out of London, albeit temporarily, it could allow Parliament to be seen as less aloof and London-centric - perhaps restoring some faith in the institution.

As to where the temporary Parliament should be, that's a matter of debate. Fortunately, we have a Chamber that's very good at doing that.

Jonny Clark

Jon Clark has been teaching economics and business studies for over 25 years primarily in the Further Education sector. Before joining tutor2u, he was a senior manager at South Cheshire College in Crewe.

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