UK parliament could burn down ‘any day’ says former minister


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Andrea Leadsome, former minister and current Member of Parliament for South Northamptonshire, has urged her fellow MPs to ‘get on’ with the renovation of the Parliament building to prevent at fire similar to that seen by the Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris in 2019.

In 2019, MPs voted to set up a sponsor body with responsibility for the restoration of the building. A review produced by the body put the basic costs of essential repairs between £7 billion and £13 billion and estimated they would take between 19 and 28 years to complete – or 12 to 20 years if the building was fully vacated.

Some politicians have expressed concern about moving out amid plans to relocate to Richmond House in central London were vetoed, despite the body claiming that costs would increase by 40% if politicians stayed put.

Speaking to Radio 4’s Week in Westminster programme, Leadsom said a fire of the scale seen by Notre-Dame could happen in Parliament, adding that a fire in 2017 was only averted because of the presence of the 24/7 fire patrol.

“That is so ‘there but for the grace of God’,” she said. “It could burn down today, tomorrow, any day and we’ve got to make that decision and get on with it.”

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