Is it really worthwhile to restore Westminster?

From: Nigel Boddy, Fife Road, Darlington.

SPEAKER John Bercow wants us to spend £3bn renovating the Houses of Parliament. I think we have to ask three questions.

Will it work? Will it cost £3bn? Would it be better to move central government out of Westminster or even out of London altogether?

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The Houses of Parliament are built like an old Victorian machine. Much of the building is actually iron. The plumbing and electrics are, I am told, a nightmare. Will it prove nearly impossible to do what Speaker Bercow wants?

Will renovation cost £3bn? I suggest we think very hard about Edinburgh and the Holyrood Parliament which cost 10 times the original budget. Be prepared to spend £30bn.

Are there alternative places to put Parliament instead? Just along the river on the other side past Lambeth Palace there are plenty of places to construct a new Parliament building.

But like Westminster itself, these places are in danger of flooding. The nation can also build something between St Paul’s Cathedral and the River Thames if we buy back an ugly 1980s office block given to BT as their headquarters upon privatisation. We could also construct a floating new Palace of Westminster on the river in the manner of a flotel.

Or we could move Parliament to the North? We have to think where we want our capital city to be before we go squandering billions on the Palace of Westminster.

Certainly, this is not a decision for John Bercow alone.