Richard Lochhead

Moray SNP News



Angus Robertson, Member of the Westminster Parliament for Moray, has condemned the ‘astronomical’ cost of Westminster restoration is ‘unthinkable’ during a time of damaging cuts to public services.

Local MP Mr Robertson says reform of Parliament, including abolition of the House of Lords, should clearly be resolved as the outcome of that would change the building and space needs of parliament in the future.

The cost of renovating the Palace of Westminster is expected to run into billions of pounds.

The building, largely constructed in the middle of the 19th Century, is now being proposed for a massive refurbishment as it has been allowed to deteriorate for years. The building is now partly sinking, contains asbestos and has outdated electric cabling.

Angus Robertson commented:

“The cost of restoring Westminster is astronomical. The prospect of spending billions of pounds at a time of belt tightening and damaging Tory austerity is eye-watering.

“The people coming up with these proposals must live on another planet if they think it will wash with the public. Nothing damages the reputation of parliament and politics more than the establishment being seen to look after itself whilst services and social security for the majority are savaged. Going down that road would be unthinkable in these circumstances.

"The claimed urgency of the need to repair the building is completely undermined when one of the options being considered would take 32 years to complete. It is also wrong for a project of this scale not to fully consider all options - it should certainly include the option of parliament leaving the premises completely for either a new build or a new location if it is cost-effective.

“The decision by the Joint Committee to rule out a new build parliament means the UK Parliament will remain crowbarred into an expensive, impractical and archaic building whatever the cost to keep it going.

“This should also be an opportunity to reform and modernise the way business is conducted in the Houses of Parliament. It could be a golden opportunity to look at the way politics works at Westminster and a way to modernise the antiquated and out-dated way this building actually works – but the costs are based on a "like for like" refurbishment meaning we would still have the House of Lords and all the Victorian working practices that might have worked in 1916 – but certainly don’t in 2016.

"This cannot become another Westminster stitch-up decided behind closed doors with little or no public awareness or consultation. There needs to be clear lines of accountability and scrutiny at all stages so this doesn’t spiral out of control.

"Unfortunately this is part of the cost to Scotland of remaining under the Westminster system.”