PM’s ‘move parliament to York’ idea rejected


Boris Johnson’s suggestion of temporarily moving parliament to York while repair work is carried out on the Palace of Westminster has been rejected.

The body in charge of organising the maintenance said the idea proposed last month will not be one of the options included in their review of where MPs and peers should decant to.

They had been asked by the prime minister to consider a “possible location outside London” for MPs to work, debate and vote while the crumbling palace is mended.

York, UK - July 1, 2011: York Minster the gothic cathedral in the city centre with traffic and people below.
Ministers are considering establishing a government hub in York

But the Restoration and Renewal Sponsor Body and Delivery Authority said it is for MPs and peers to decide where they should sit.

They also confirmed the York decant will not form part of their review.

The body said the speakers of both the Commons and the Lords told them that “as the location of the houses is a matter for parliament, it does not form part of the programme’s scope, and consequently would be inappropriate for us to explore further”.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, sponsor body chief Sarah Johnson and delivery authority head David Goldstone said there are “constitutional implications” for moving MPs and peers outside London “which makes this a matter for both Houses to determine rather than for our review”.

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“This option will not, therefore, be considered as part of the scope of the strategic review,” the note added.

Number 10 sources said Mr Johnson had made his views clear that it was a matter for parliament to decide.

But they added politicians “should also consider options outside SW1” – the Westminster postcode.

Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson suggested the idea in July

Ministers are still considering establishing a government hub in York, the plan which prompted Mr Johnson to suggest the city as a possible temporary venue for parliament.

MPs and peers agreed in 2018 to a plan that would see both houses move to temporary facilities near the existing site – a “full decant” – to allow essential repairs and upgrades to be made to the Victorian palace.

A spokesman for the “restoration and renewal programme” said: “The Houses of Parliament are falling apart faster than they can be fixed…

“The option of locating parliament outside London has constitutional implications.

“And as the speakers of both Houses have stated, this means it is a matter for both houses to determine rather than for our review.”

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