Labour MP Lucy Powell deems Manchester ‘ideal place’ to house Parliament

Manchester MP Lucy Powell is backing the campaign to move Parliament to Manchester after the city was named top choice in a recent poll.

Britain have had their say and voted for Manchester to be the new northern home of Parliament after it was announced asbestos-ridden Westminster must vacated for six year for essential repairs.

The Palace of Westminster, Parliament’s current meeting place, suffers from flooding, crumbling walls and worst of all asbestos.

And Labour’s Manchester Central MP Mrs Powell reckons the city would make a great place to house Parliament while the work is carried out.

She said: “Manchester would be a great place to host Parliament during the renovation.

“This city has the infrastructure and transport links needed, and with so many historical ties to political movements, from universal suffrage to workers’ rights.

“Manchester would be an ideal place for MPs to meet while the repair works are being carried out.”

A new report revealed that, if the MPs and Lords remained in Westminster, the repairs would cost an estimated £5.7billion.

That figure, however, can be reduced to around £3.6billion, over just six years, if the building is vacated and the MPs and Lords up sticks to another location.

John Bercow, the House of Commons Speaker, has warned that the Palace will have to be abandoned within two decades if thorough restoration work does not get under way soon.

A survey of 2,051 adults online found that 55% nominated Manchester as one of their top three favoured locations.

Birmingham was close second with 49% and the university towns of Oxford (19%) and Cambridge (12%) are ranked 3rd and 4th respectively.

This is not the first time a temporary home for Parliament has needed to be chosen.

During the English Civil War Parliament had to meet in Oxford from 1644 to 1645.

Physically, the Palace of Westminster has suffered a great deal during its long life.

First built in the Middle Ages, the old Gothic edifice was all but destroyed when a stove fire broke out in 1834

It went on to survive the best efforts of the German air force in World War II, who hit the palace on 14 separate occasions, resulting in the chamber of the House of Commons being destroyed and the House of Lords being damaged.

However, its scars are beginning to show and imminent structural work means a new site must be selected.

Although stats show Manchester would be the people’s top choice, it will be less than ideal for politicians.

London to Manchester is an approximate two hour journey and closer alternatives, such as Hyde Park, have been suggested.

But say Manchester is chosen, what would this mean for the city?

Well, clearly there will be a higher influx of politicians, but there have also been suggestions that there will be a consequential rise in housing prices.

However, those in favour believe a boost to economy and status will be in store.

Perhaps the move would also be a step closer to the ‘Northern Powerhouse’.

Current speculation on a temporary home for Parliament coincides with 2015 being celebrated as ‘The Year of Parliament’.

This year marks the 750th anniversary of the creation of the first Parliament that included representatives of every county in 1265.

To commemorate this monumental anniversary, the History of Parliament Trust and St James’s House Media have jointly published a book titled ‘The Story of Parliament: Celebrating 750 years of Parliament in Britain.’

The book explores the events and people that have helped forge Parliament and, in turn, society as we know it today.

Richard Freed, Director of St James’s House Media, said: “The Palace of Westminster is one of the UK’s most iconic buildings.

“As we celebrate this 750th anniversary, it is interesting to see the competing claims from other cities to provide a temporary home for our parliamentary representatives.”

A special edition of ‘The Story of Parliament’ is being distributed to leading figures and organisations in the public, private and third sector, including members of the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

Copies of this limited-edition publication can be purchased, subject to availability, directly from St James’s House Media.  

Image courtesy of Rennett Stowe and BBC, via YouTube, with thanks.

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