PM: York to be considered as temporary home for Parliament
Prime minister Boris Johnson has written a letter saying that it would “make sense to consider” the city of York as a “potential location” for Parliament’s temporary home while the Palace of Westminster undergoes renovations.
The government is already weighing up establishing a hub in the city. Should the move happen, it is likely to take place around the year 2025.
Plans to move MPs out of Westminster temporarily are currently under review. Alternative locations in London have also been proposed by the PM, including Richmond House, City Hall and the Queen Elizabeth II Centre.
The letter, written to David Goldstone and Sarah Johnson who are overseeing the renovations, reads: "We all have a responsibility to protect the Palace of Westminster as a functioning building and as the iconic UNESCO World Heritage site that is the home and symbol of our democracy.
"The current situation is unsustainable given the serious risk of a major fire and the need to upgrade the services throughout the building."
The prime minister said that costs were a “major driver” in the review into moving MPs, but said that disruption to parliamentary business, heritage benefits, timelines and fire safety all had to be taken into account.
Johnson added: "We should also move as quickly as possible, both because of the risks associated with the current state of the building and the need to provide certainty on the way forward and thereby minimise disruption to our business."
As a constitutional problem, the PM stressed that the parliamentarians' opinions on the temporary location of Parliament had to be taken on board.
Speaking in the House of Lords on Monday, Bishop of Birmingham, David Urquhart, put forward the possibility of using the West Midlands city as a “nearer alternative” to York.
The review into the project is expected to conclude in the autumn when it will give its recommendation on whether Parliament should be moved and where the best alternative location would be.
The National Audit Office recently reported that the £4 billion cost that was previously mooted for the restoration project was likely to be a “median” figure, and the total costs were expected to exceed that.