Parliament’s multi-billion pound refurbishment is set to be pushed into the long-grass as plans are handed to a semi-independent body to scrutinise, The Telegraph can reveal.
Ministers are preparing to announce an Olympic-style delivery authority will be created to investigate proposals for moving MPs and peers out of the building for improvements.
It means that the final binding vote on what should happen to the Palace of Westminster will not be held for another two or three years – possibly as late as 2020.
Ministers refusal to select a proposal themselves would create a major backlash from politicians warning the building is so unsafe it could suffer a “sudden, catastrophic failure”.
The announcement, currently scheduled for May, will also trigger accusations that the Government has delayed making a decision in the face of a major Tory rebellion.
Chris Byrant, the Labour MP calling for the quickest possible refurbishment, said: “We have got to choose the quickest, safest and cheapest option and we can’t run away from making a decision now. The building is in peril.”
Making refurbishments to the Palace of Westminster have been discussed for years with the building – rebuilt after the Great Fire of 1834 – in a state of disrepair.
Last year a committee of peers and MPs endorsed the boldest of three options considered – a “full decant” that would see both the Commons and the Lords moved out for six years.
The proposals would cost the least– between £3.5 and £3.9 billion – but is opposed by some MPs who fear they would never return, with another permanent venue picked instead.
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