The Palace of Westminster

I was one of the MPs who needed persuading that the Houses of Parliament needs a thorough overhaul and refit such that we need to move out for several years and spend many billions of pounds on the buildings.

I understand that wiring, plumbing and other services need replacing or updating from time to time. These do not all have to be done throughout the Palace at the same time. It is true there is asbestos in the buildings,  but most of it is stable and no hazard unless disturbed by builders. Many of the works drawn up for the large project might be nice to have modernisations or improvements, but are not essential to the functioning of the place. Of course there needs to be a regular programme of restoration of stone work and windows to keep the building water tight, and it is crucial to keep roofs in good repair to keep rain out. More of the work can be done in the summer recess, and more can be done by builders taking over smaller sections of the Palace for a time period to do more fundamental work.

I read that following the recent  terrorist incident there is some rethinking going on. One of the advantages of the present building is the presence now of a security strengthened perimeter. On the fateful day it is tragic that a policeman on duty was killed. I trust lessons will be learned about having the right support at entrances to deal with any violent intruder and to protect the police themselves before he does harm. It is also the case that the mass murders and injuries occurred beyond the perimeter. We should be more worried about pedestrian safety outside the Palace as a result of those events. The Bus and cycle lane open to the adjacent pavement allowed the murderer easier and faster access to the victims.

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62 Comments

  1. Lifelogic
    Posted April 15, 2017 at 5:43 am | Permalink

    As usual you make excellent points but politician (and all the hangers on) just love grand projects rather than a little bit of sensible fixing of the roof and gutters. The asbestos risk is another hugely over exaggerated racket and money making scam in general.

    I do still find it absurd that the first line of police at the palace were unarmed and thus unable even to deal with a single man only armed with a knife.

    It also seems that it was also only fortuitous that the defence secretary’s security officers were passing through at the time. Having said that protection of every potential target is always going to be impossible.

    Meanwhile I see in the Telegraph today that John Timpson has branded the new apprenticeship levy as a travesty and a box ticking exercise. He is quite right, yet another hugely damaging government intervention, distraction and back door tax for thousands business. It renders them even less competitive and kills jobs & productivity. Well done again politicians why do they think they know how to run businesses? Everything they control the NHS and government in general is run appallingly after all.

    • Hope
      Posted April 15, 2017 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

      If the sham of parliament has carried on for forty years under EU rule. There is No need for so many MPs or Lords. The remainers have convinced me they know this is the case. They wanted their leaders at HQs in Brussels and Strasbourg. This would be case without the EU under the whipped system. No more charades, Westminster Hall for a few MPs. The Lords have proven they are no longer of any value to the public and do not want democracy.

      The Mets acceded to the dim-witted authorities/politicians not to arm the officer at that location. Whoever made that decision now needs to be held responsible. Any notable site which is likely to be targeted by deadly determined terrorists will have armed police nearby, as well as Hazchem and the rest.

      I felt far safer in NYC seeing armed police at all tourist spots than London.

      When we have the ridiculous Liz Truss and co. Changing the criminal justice system to a lazier fare liberal holiday camp there is little point have no prisons. Prisons no law never to be associated with punishment! Being inside I should punishment enough we read! If true prisons currently serve no purpose. The prison population drastically increased with the liberalization of the justice system from 1960 when Jenkins was in charge and changed the prison system to a love in. Hitchens is right.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted April 15, 2017 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

        Indeed if you do not have satifactory derrents you do not deter crime. So you get more and more. Shoplifters and money other criminals are already encouraged by a total lack of action by police.

      • libertarian
        Posted April 16, 2017 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

        Hope

        Absolutely , there should be a maximum of 300 MP’s and no House of Lords

        We also have one whole layer too many of local government too.

        Cut politicians, cut pork barrel projects and spend our money far more wisely

        • Hope
          Posted April 17, 2017 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

          Yet, May continues with her imposed mayors when , we the public, rejected them. Why does she not listen to the people? Is she still trying to regionalise England to divide us?

  2. Lifelogic
    Posted April 15, 2017 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    On digital radios it seems that the BBC and the powers that be are trying to claim that more are more people are using digital radio by including computer, phone, television, ipads and any other podcast or downloads within the “digital radio listeners figures”. This in order to justify switch off and thus render billions of pounds of people’s radios redundant and force them to buy expensive battery eating new digital ones.

    The real comparison is between FM listeners and listeners to the (often intermittent) larger more power consuming digital radios.

    This I estimate at something like 30 to 1. Most cars on the road still do not even have a digital radio. It should not be switched of for many years.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted April 15, 2017 at 9:28 am | Permalink

      We can’t listen to digital on our car radio as the signal keeps dropping out. Technology for you. Same with phone signals and internet too in our area. 3rd world country or what?

      • Jerry
        Posted April 16, 2017 at 7:23 am | Permalink

        @fedupsoutherner; Satellite radio is the way to go, it has been proven in the USA, even in built-up areas – if I remember correctly ‘blind spots’ in such areas use local RF or WiFi repeaters, the receiver switching seamlessly between the satellite signal and the local signal.

        But yes, much UK infrastructure is some what behind the times, but what do you expect when the governing factor is ‘market forces’ but those who complain still carry on buying an indifferent product…

        • libertarian
          Posted April 16, 2017 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

          Jerry

          I think that some companies missed a trick here . If I owned Tom Tom ( thats another story !) or Garmin etc I would have looked at this. With more car makers putting in their own sat nav and smartphones with Google Maps their business is in danger of diminishing. I would have moved my sat nav offer into satellite radio.

          However i think that with so much on demand now that internet/bluetooth is the way forward.

          Interestingly because we have such poor mobile connectivity in my region a lot of the listener audience to my station download their favourite shows and listen on demand in car via bluetooth .

          If you have a better system of competitive products and services than “market forces” I’d like to know what it is.

    • Jerry
      Posted April 15, 2017 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      @LL; “The real comparison is between FM listeners and listeners to the (often intermittent) larger more power consuming digital radios.”

      If RF engineers had taken your ‘expert’ advice in the 1930s and again in the 1970s, we would likely still be using AM/MW, if not still ‘cats whiskers’ to listen on Short-wave… We would not have digital TV, heck we might still be using VHF, we would certainly not have the multi-channel TV we have today, certainly no satellite TV or even colour TV…

      In thirty years time people will think it very strange that anyone uses RF technology to receive anything, unless it is some form of WiFi or for voice telecoms use.

      “Most cars on the road still do not even have a digital radio. It should not be switched of for many years.”

      Most cars, that were fitted with radios (either factory/dealer or after market), in the 1970s did not have VHF/FM radios but the switch to FM was made all the same.

      Sorry Mr Lifelogic, but mind if I call you a Luddite?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted April 15, 2017 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

        You can call me what you like but currently FM is far better than digital radio for most users. Sure you can download your podcasts and the likes. but for live radio FM is currently the best technology by a long way. Happy to move my position when the digial uses far fewer batteries and actually works reliably.

      • Peter D Gardner
        Posted April 15, 2017 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

        I’m not sure why this FM vs digital commentary is taking place here. Please explain relevance to John Redwood’s article.

    • Bob
      Posted April 15, 2017 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

      @liflogic
      Anything emanating from the BBC needs to be treated with a large dose of scepticism. I had another threatening letter from them this morning.

      What a way to run a business. The TV Licence is long past it’s “use by” date.

      • Jerry
        Posted April 16, 2017 at 7:16 am | Permalink

        @Bob; “The TV Licence is long past it’s “use by” date.”

        By the same (rather silly) rational, so are subscription packages, were one has to pay for a zillion TV channels that you don’t want just to be allowed to access the one channel you do.

        • Bob
          Posted April 17, 2017 at 8:34 am | Permalink

          @Jerry,
          Your silly insults do not compensate for your lack of a valid point.
          If Sky and Virgin can operate on a completelyvoluntary subscription basis, then so can the BBC.

          • Jerry
            Posted April 18, 2017 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

            @Bob; “completely voluntary subscription basis”

            No it is not, only if one could subscribe to any single channel would you be correct. For example there are ‘extra’ channels that can not be subscribed to until you have first subscribed to at least the basic package, meaning that one has to buy that package first, adding costs beyond the one channel you actually want. Have you never wondered why neither Sky nor Virgin rock the boat with regards the TVL fee?…

            The only person slinging silly insults around is you Bob, but then you have no other valid argument. I have asked this many time of you and others, I have yet to receive an answer of any sort so perhaps this time of asking you will kindly cite the law that makes people not only own a TV receiver but, watch television broadcast via it.

  3. Posted April 15, 2017 at 6:35 am | Permalink

    Make it like the Kremlin. Walled with towers.
    Every time some maniac does something awful two things inevitably happen:
    1. Our freedoms get stopped – air travel is by far the best example of a lovely things ruined.
    2. Muslims as a whole get trashed. I have Muslims in my family and I don;t like that.

  4. E.S Tablishment
    Posted April 15, 2017 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    The proverbial martian, looking at the Palace of Westminster, might hazard a guess that it was a museum, a religious monument, an old established clock factory, an ancient fortress.
    He would be cosmically surprised if told serious level-headed people gathered there to work on important matters in a business-like way. British earthlings may doubt it too.

  5. Mark B
    Posted April 15, 2017 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    The building is old and needs to be updated to meet modern day needs. Closing part of the house would be a good idea but decamping completely would enable works to continue without being in the way of the functioning of parliament.

    Most terrorism is conducted against the general populace and not against government. It is the ideological and not political that motivates the people to kill. Witness the 7/7 attack. So making changes like the one described will not resolve this. Only taking the bull by the horns will.

  6. Prigger
    Posted April 15, 2017 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    MPs should soberly discuss that terrorism will get more and more and, more. Current attitudes, increasing levels of education and expectation unintentionally will lead to envy, jealousy, conflict.

    With the best will in the world…………it is not highly likely politicians across the globe even with Fake Media and the present ongoing neutering of Social Media will maintain their management of expectations.
    So MPs should move permanently away from the Westmisnter Palace and meet in a proper place of work, which is more secure. Better still in different placeS in this technologicval age of video conferencing.
    For the infantile MPs, they can pre-record their “Here, heres” and have them inserted by a professional Fake News Editor who is well-used to such nefarious work. He can also save SNPs the long trips to Westminster and back by inserting periodic jeers of ” A dunnay agree wi tha'” and etc ed

    • JoolsB
      Posted April 15, 2017 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      Not to mention the expense for what after all are part time MPs seeing as most of their workload is done for them at Holyrood.

    • APL
      Posted April 15, 2017 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

      Prigger: “they can pre-record their “Here, heres” and have them inserted by a professional Fake News Editor who is well-used to such nefarious work.”

      That’s a pretty good idea. Combine it with revoking the BBC licence fee and Westminster could become the BBCs biggest customer.

      Capture, a bit like playing ‘whack a mole’ today.

  7. agricola
    Posted April 15, 2017 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    It would almost certainly be more cost effective to give builders unrestricted access to an empty Westminster. Finding an alternative setting for Parliament should not be that difficult. There is the Dome in London or one of the halls at the NEC in Birmingham, just as opening suggestions.

    Rumour has it that Belgium was at it’s most successful when it failed to form a government for 589 days in 2010/2011. Perhaps we should try it.

    • Mark B
      Posted April 15, 2017 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

      We did, in 2010. For one whole week, GB would not leave Number 10 and the nation, for a breif period was not governed by them. In the end they had to quickly cobble together a government before the plebs realised we did not need them.

  8. Prigger
    Posted April 15, 2017 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    There will be fears as MPs move House. Much the same fears certain Local Authorities might have when telephone , fax and other such bills do not exactly tie up with person, location, and usage.
    There will be moves to take those accounts en masse and in bulk complete with “same numbers” to any temporary location..and the bills will be rubber-stamped as usual without any unnecessary investigation and queries such as “There is a bill for a fax which has been paid for years but actually the corresponding fax machine in that location as indicated by BT is not there at all and never has been. 😉

    • sm
      Posted April 15, 2017 at 10:50 am | Permalink

      Many MPs do not have offices within the HoC so there are not as many individuals decamping as might be thought; committee rooms could surely be found nearby; and perhaps the Foreign Office just across the way has a couple of halls that might be big enough for Parliamentary debates and voting?

  9. Anonymous
    Posted April 15, 2017 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    All the officer needed was a Tazer.

    • Anonymous
      Posted April 15, 2017 at 7:26 am | Permalink

      Otherwise the security worked.

    • Prigger
      Posted April 15, 2017 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

      Anonymous
      All the Officer needed was a government and military which realised that IF you attack you must cover your rear. The enemy attacked the rear and a policeman stopped them singlehandedly.

    • Spring
      Posted April 18, 2017 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

      To anon
      Exactly. A gun can be grabbed and used. A taser cant be used by just anyone.
      Stab vests don’t protect the neck.

  10. eeyore
    Posted April 15, 2017 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    This rather unsatisfying building (I walked past it twice a day for decades and grew to regret it) is a universally recognised shorthand symbol for Britain. Having lived what feels like half my life with builders in, I disagree with JR. Get the job sorted once and for all.

    Parliament’s own appraisal of the works may be found at http://www.restorationandrenewal.parliament.uk/condition-of-the-building.html . Current cost estimates are already up to £7bn, and the work may take three decades or more.

    Anyone with experience of builders knows that costs and time are elastic. Anyone who has been a builder knows that one reason is that clients keep changing their minds, and another is the client asking, “Oh, while you’re here can you do so-and-so?” Of course we can rely on MPs not to do either.

  11. formula57
    Posted April 15, 2017 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    And let it not be forgotten that all this estate refurbishment must now occur without Speaker Bercow’s Australian lady choice of ‘Commons Clerk to oversee it.

    Is the cost still c. £4 billion? Much better value to let Parliament take over a new site elsewhere and sell off the Palace of Westminster.

  12. Anonymous
    Posted April 15, 2017 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    The Express reports “2000 migrants *saved* in a day” with pictures of inflatable boats packed with blokes being picked up by navy ships.

    This is a ferry arrangement set up to look like rescue by our governments to deceive the people of Europe.

    It’s the lies, John. THESE are the lies that made Brexit, Le Penn, Wilders, Farage…. not something written on the side of a bus.

    • APL
      Posted April 15, 2017 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

      Anon: “The Express reports “2000 migrants *saved* in a day” ”

      Not sure why stupid people doing stupid things should be saved from their own stupidity.

      • Anonymous
        Posted April 15, 2017 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

        They are not doing ‘stupid’ things. They are doing calculated things and pre-arranged pick-up is quite obviously what is happening.

  13. A.Sedgwick
    Posted April 15, 2017 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    The suggestion of emptying Westminster for years while it is rebuilt at a cost of £billions is symptomatic of the political bubble. The numbers of MPs is planned to fall to 600, which is far too many and if Scotland or N. Ireland left the UK less MPs again. Then there is the antiquarian Lords, surely one day this will be sorted i.e. abolished.

    The average family buying a run down property can take years getting it the way they want and put up with any inconvenience, because the funds are not available to contract builders etc in one go, unlike wasteful governments. Westminster is also probably empty of politicians for 180 or more days a year.

    • NHSGP
      Posted April 15, 2017 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

      Abolish the Lords. That frees up lots of space and whilst one chamber is sorted out you can use the other.

      Ah, put there’s that gentleman’s club for failed politicians.

      There should be a law. If you are kicked out by the electorate you cannot sit in the Lords.

      That’s just sticking two fingers up to the electorate

    • APL
      Posted April 15, 2017 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

      A.Sedgwick: “Then there is the antiquarian Lords, surely one day this will be sorted i.e. abolished.”

      Blair’s Lords ‘Reform’ left 90 hereditary peers in the Lords. Let’s just expel the rest, the Mandlesons, Kinnock pater and Kinnock Mater.

      As the remaining old codgers fall off their perch, put each seat up for election.

  14. alan jutson
    Posted April 15, 2017 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    Do not know enough detail about what is being proposed to make more than a general comment, but when visiting the Palace a number of years ago I did notice a number of areas where subsidence was occurring, and since then it has been reported that the Elizabeth Tower (Big ben) is now leaning, thus it is all rather pointless doing major works, if subsidence is still an on going problem.

    I assume someone is monitoring the buildings movement, if it has stopped then good news, but if it is continuing then that is an area I would suggest needs to have major work completed first and foremost.

    Normal maintenance should of course continue, as should prevention of water ingress into and through the structure.

  15. Bert Young
    Posted April 15, 2017 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    The Palace of Westminster must be preserved . It is still a functional building but , above all , it is symbolic of democracy . Anything as old as it is is bound to have problems ; I am surprised much of its decay has reached a devastating level and has not been progressively tackled before . Its repair now must go ahead .

    Protection – of all sorts , is a major problem today ; no matter what is devised there will always be something that will find a weakness . The tragedy that happened was a wake up call to our Police and Intelligence services ; let us hope that they too have set about their repairs .

  16. Ian Wragg
    Posted April 15, 2017 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Westminster should be demolished and high rise flats built to exclusively house the thousands of people you keep importing.
    When you are subject to the crime wave and scams together with the third world conditions imposed on the rest of us, you may rethink the policy.
    You can then enjoy the cultural enrichment of unlimited immigration.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted April 15, 2017 at 9:45 am | Permalink

      Yep

      That’s certainly what everyone in the big council estates l know thinks. Sadly not a view our main stream media gives much serious air time to.

    • John Probert
      Posted April 15, 2017 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

      Good idea or we could convert it to a prison to lock up some of our
      incompetent politicians !!!
      This would bring big cost savings !!!

  17. Roy Grainger
    Posted April 15, 2017 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    SO much more scope for home improvements when someone else is paying.

  18. William Long
    Posted April 15, 2017 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    The refurbishment should be carried out in the most efficient way for the taxpayer, taking into account the security aspects you rightly flag. Do we know what steps have been taken to ensure that this is being done?
    Much of the reason this huge expenditure has become necessary is failure to deal with routine maintenance over the years. What has been done to see that this chronic neglect does not recur?

  19. Antisthenes
    Posted April 15, 2017 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    Optimum solutions are never easy to design as they are reliant on the understanding of and the reliability of many factors. The private sector is reasonably competent at doing so, although there is often room for improvement, because failure incurs unacceptable costs. That is not true of the public sector as failure often carries low risk of penalties resulting in the public sector rarely achieving good or even intended outcomes. So when government and the public sector make statements that they are acting out of necessity to fulfil a need and are applying the best means to achieve that need it is not unreasonable to receive such news with some suspicion.

    On that basis you are right to challenge on whether in fact that need exists and if so if it is at the level as stated and are the means to fulfil that need the correct ones. Being a government public sector controlled scrutiny will be difficult as their deliberations will be kept as much as possible from public view and accountability will be fiercely resisted. So what work the parliament buildings require and how best to implement that work will probably not be decided on the evidence but on self interest and politics.

    The new security arrangements will undoubtedly be an improvement. Until such time as those who wish to visit harm upon those who inhabit the place find a weakness to exploit that as yet those who are charged with keeping the place safe have not yet recognised. Criminals have a tendency to be one step ahead of law enforcement agencies.

  20. DaveM
    Posted April 15, 2017 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    It should be overhauled and made magnificent for the next n years. It’s the seat of government for heaven’s sake. The Americans wouldn’t have the White House covered in scaffolding with workmen crawling over it – they’d close it down and cover it up until the work was complete. Precious MPs should just suck it up for a while and work elsewhere. If they decide they don’t want to be MPs because they can’t work in the famous chamber they will have revealed their true substance and should be deselected by their Parties. While we’re at it, let’s have the Royal Yacht back and get the PM her/his own plane.

    If the powers-that-be would just license a sensible and serious person to handle security it needn’t be a problem and needn’t be unnecessarily overt.

    OT – Help for Heroes bailing out the NHS to the tune of £390,000. £100,000,000 GIVEN to Pakistanis in cash. AAAAGH. The second paragraph of Agricola’s comment is spot on.

  21. Posted April 15, 2017 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    When I read what it is going to cost for the refurbishment, I just wonder who is taking who for a ride!
    I feel that there should be a totally independent survey of what is needed by experts who have no financial interest in what is done, whether they envisage a lot of work or a little. Many architects and consultants charge on the basis of the cost of the work being carried out and there is an enormous tendency to over-gild the lily!
    I would also suggest a proper costing of what is involved in moving elsewhere, the cost of fitting out the building to a suitable standard, the cost of moving all the facilities such as phones and computers, the extra cost of security for a building not designed as a high security location.
    As for refurbishing the building whilst it is still in use, this will cost more but should be quite practical. I worked as an engineer for the National Air Traffic Services at the old Control Centre for over 20 years and during that time most of the electronic equipment was renewed at least twice together with major changes to both the control rooms and the building. We managed all this whilst keeping the Centre running without any interruption, except for the odd hour in the middle of the night. With the length of summer recess that Parliament has, I cannot understand why the critical work can’t be done during that period.

  22. Caterpillar
    Posted April 15, 2017 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    For comparison – inflation adjusted cost of the Gherkin inc land £350m. The Shard, about £450m + land.

    Move or improve? Move.

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted April 17, 2017 at 8:27 am | Permalink

      Gherkin beautiful building.
      Every generation should add beautiful buildings to London (part of patriotism). Now is the perfect opportunity to build a beautiful new parliament (with lots of benefits) but in classical style, not modern of Gothic.

  23. Ed Mahony
    Posted April 15, 2017 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    I think we need a new Parliament along the Thames:

    – Westminster is anachronistic of a bygone era (19th century world empire). We’re not a superpower anymore. We need a new Parl to reflect who we are now: a smaller but more adaptable/flexible/modern country.
    – Save money. Bill for Westminster could be more than 4 billion. Sell it off, and build new Parl for half that if possible.
    – Design the new building so it’s really terrorist proof
    – Develop Westminster for luxury tourism / luxury commerce would bring more money to city / make even more attractive to business people wanting to live here
    – Be inspired from our best historical architecture: Queen Anne.
    – Call it Churchill House or something after our greatest PM.
    – Preserve best and oldest parts of Wesminster Palace (Big Ben, front wall of Parliament looking out onto Thames etc .. and knock down rest, turning into, for example, hotel, shops, office buildings, art gallery, tourist attractions)

    – Build a beautiful bridge in front of new parliament. If you look at map of Thames near Westminister, one side (as opposed to the end of bridge) would face north and other south. This would be perfect for creating a garden bridge (Queen Anne / classical in style) where you need lots of sun from the south. On the northern side you could build beautiful low buildings like the Ponte Vecchio (turning into restaurants, shops, art galleries, cafes etc to help pay for bridge). And a beautiful, colourful, medieval-like clock tower (like in Bern, Switzerland), facing south to catch all the sun, either on northern or southern end of bridge.

    On the main front door of the new Parliament and inside the main Commons Chamber I’d have a famous Shakspeare quote from Hamlet on a plaque reminding politicians not to let power to go to their heads / not to take themselves too seriously (although not forgetting that the politics they do is serious business as it impacts on the lives of so many people):
    Hamlet :’That skull had a tongue in it and could sing once. How the knave jowls it to the ground, as if it were Cain’s jawbone, that did the first murder! It might be the pate of a politician, which this ass now o’erreaches, one that would circumvent God, might it not?’

  24. nigel seymour
    Posted April 15, 2017 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    Whatever it takes to get Westminster updated then i am in total favour. Lot’s of billions if required. Makes the case for not paying a divorce settlement to the EU for Brexit. Also, get the Abbey sorted along with Windsor Castle, Buckingham Palace and St Pauls Whilst we are at it get Downing Street assessed and get that done as well. The more money that is invested in our iconic buildings (what this country fought for!!) the better. Suggest also that Chancellor re-visits self employed workers that need to be brought in line re NIC. I might start noting the ‘workers’ who frequent my property for gardening and property services and always offer cash prices so they don’t pay tax…

  25. The Prangwizard
    Posted April 15, 2017 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    This is what happens when you put off maintenance and repair for a later day. It is incompetence. Those who have deferred the work are probably retired, leaving others with the dirty end of the stick

    And I agree the asbestos lark is a rip-off racket, maybe even with a criminal element.

  26. Monty
    Posted April 15, 2017 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    “It is true there is asbestos in the buildings, but most of it is stable and no hazard unless disturbed by builders.”

    It’s difficult to be sure of that in such an old building, especially in light of the activities of the mice and rats that are known to be present. The logistics of such a project are of a scale I would not like to juggle with. Too many unknowns, eg finding surprises behind old panelling, “orphan” electrical cables, and the need to ensure the safety of parliamentary and contractor personnel, parliamentary archives, in situations where fire detection and suppression systems will occasionally need to be bypassed, make the whole thing rather high risk.

  27. jack snell
    Posted April 15, 2017 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    With so much danger and uncertainty going on in the world I am surprised that we are commenting on such trivia as the preservation of an old building down in London’

    On a more pressing matter – what do you think of our chances of getting a new trade deal with the Russians now that dear old Boris has sounded off at them? Haven’t heard a peep from Liam Fox of late about any new deals with the Far East and South America? Just wondering

  28. Peter Parsons
    Posted April 15, 2017 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    It’s our money paying for it, so do it in the cheapest way possible.

    From everything I’ve seen reported, the cheapest way possible means moving out en masse for a number of years, therefore, that is the right way to do it.

  29. margaret
    Posted April 15, 2017 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    Naughty Wragg! John ,your stance is a typical conservative stance and one I would probably take myself if my career in parliament had its end in sight before the work would be finished.
    I did hear of an alternative site , but I can’t remember where it was.Change is impending as our generation passes to a new one and the followers want different things and don’t share our roots. I don’t want to lose the living history though and fancy looking down from the balcony before it may be closed . I have always wanted to visit a parliamentary session.

  30. anon
    Posted April 15, 2017 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    Move out permanently.

    The House’s can then be utilised for events,tourism and a permanent British Export orientated facilitation expo centre.

    The MP’S and Lord suitably reduced in numbers can utilise a secure purpose built building. Centrally provided accomodation & office facilities could be provided as well. This could then reduce the scope and related potential for errors, surrounding the rules.

    It would also allow MP’s to focus on Britains strategic and operational needs..

    Who can then travel back to personal family residences as they choose. The housing allowances can then be removed for stays in London

  31. NA
    Posted April 15, 2017 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    spend many billions of pounds on the buildings

    …..

    Billions? Surely millions?

  32. John Probert
    Posted April 15, 2017 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    We could follow fashion and sell it to the French !!!

  33. Peter D Gardner
    Posted April 15, 2017 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know the answer but were I tasked with finding it I would look at these potential causes, first:
    1. Largesse of MPs spending other people’s money.
    2. Traditional poor management of contracts, especially building contracts, by government and its agencies.
    3. Exploitation of poor contract management by commercial interests.
    4. Exploitation of poor contract management by unionised interests in industry, government and government agencies.
    5. Lack of accountability via a proper project structure.
    6. Inadequate concern for security due to the influence of Political Correctness, particularly in respect of immigration and Islam.

  34. John B
    Posted April 16, 2017 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    “It is also the case that the mass murders and injuries occurred beyond the perimeter. ”

    A known phenomenon: transfer of risk. It is ignored by politicians with their ‘seen to be doing something’ knee-jerk reactions to any event.

    In the same way the terrorism risk has been transferred from on the plane to the queues at airports security which have become a target-rich environments for relatively small bombs easily transported and planted as there is no security screening to detect them.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

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