Planned renovation of the Houses of Parliament needs greater scrutiny - Yorkshire Post Letters

From: Gareth Robson, Kent House Road, Beckenham.

The planned renovation of the Houses of Parliament has faded from the news. It's a shame, because a proper searchlight is needed on it.

Our parliamentarians live an odd life, particularly those based beyond a daily commute to Westminster - but I dare say there are compensations (Rather unhealthy ones, I suspect).

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Coddled by their shop steward aka Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle they have refused to move out of their Thames-side west-end club whilst it is stripped out and renovated, thereby saddling the tax-payer with a much higher bill as the contractors will be forced to spend a decade or more tip-toeing around their arcane proceedings.

The Elizabeth Tower is the clock tower of the Palace of Westminster. PIC: John Walton/PA WireThe Elizabeth Tower is the clock tower of the Palace of Westminster. PIC: John Walton/PA Wire
The Elizabeth Tower is the clock tower of the Palace of Westminster. PIC: John Walton/PA Wire

I scarcely need to explain to your readers just how many extra problems (and therefore costs) are created for contractors when a refurbishment site is not handed over to them in entirety and 100 per cent vacant - but parliamentarians are of-course highly-skilled at arguing that up is down and the sky is brown - and in any case few of them have the practical experience to understand the impact of operational decisions.

What's more, many of them are probably terrified that they might have to spend more time with their spouses, families, and constituents.

The alternative would be a bold trial of a massive productivity improvement. MPs should stay mostly in their constituencies; legislation at its various stages of drafting, amendment, voting and approval should be processed exclusively online (in a secure parliamentary network which, dare I say it, probably exists already).

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Occasional ceremonial occasions should take place in Britain's other great assembly halls on a rota. Hopefully it would go so well that there would never need to be a grand return to the Houses of Parliament which could then be used for better purposes once refurbished.

Normal people would be attracted as never before to the role of MP once it no longer revolved around the toxic goings-on within the rotting buildings.

I can think of a few initiatives which would be a better long-term investment in our democracy. I say ‘investment’ - it would be a saving in any case, with the only ‘cost’ being the loss of the dubious privileges of being away from home so much.

It grieves me that this simple solution has not been seriously put forward by any of our supposed representatives. Perhaps the idea might feature in a future comment piece in the pages of The Yorkshire Post?

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