MPs urged to leave parliament before a "catastrophic failure" occurs

Helen Cahill
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MPs have been pressed to leave the Unesco world heritage site (Source: Getty)

A Commons committee has urged MPs to vacate the Palace of Westminster for renovations because "doing nothing is not an option" and there is a "risk of catastrophic failure" if the building remains occupied.

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has recommended that MPs leave the historic building for six years while essential repairs, which could cost up to £3.9bn, are carried out safely.

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In its report, the PAC said:

The risk of catastrophic failure is high and growing with every month that passes: fire, water penetration, sewage inundation, comprehensive electrical failure or some other mechanical breakdown are among the most likely causes. It must be repaired.

The works should be controlled by a two-tier authority, the PAC said, the same governance structure that was used in the delivery of Crossrail and the London Olympics.

The details of when MPs should move, or where they should go, have not yet been agreed but the Commons committee, which is responsible for overseeing how public money is spent, said the "mulling new or alternative options" will waste public money.

Meg Hillier MP, chair of the PAC, said vacating the property entirely was the "best chance to keep costs down, ensure safety and complete the work on this historic building as quickly as possible".

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