Sir Edward Leigh, the former head of Parliament’s spending watchdog, has condemned plans to close the Palace of Westminster for several years and move Parliament off site during the renovation period.
“A complete move-out will end up years overdue and massively overbudget,” the former chairman of the Public Accounts Committee said. “There is plenty of space on site – either in Westminster Hall or in Victoria Tower Gardens – for a temporary debating chamber to be erected, keeping Parliament in this historic place where it has met for 469 years.”
“A top-to-bottom renovation may provide too many spending temptations for unaccountable experts, while a rolling programme of shutting down, renovating, and reopening whole sections of the Palace would in my opinion be more feasible and more cost-effective.”
“If we abolish the useless two-week September sitting that would also give a full two and a half months every year to do rolling repairs. This would greatly aid the preservation and renovation of this historic shrine to parliamentary democracy.”