Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown raises concerns that the recent meeting of the joint House of Lords and House of Commons Commissions decided yet again to employ more consultants and calls on Parliament to finally make a decision on the restoration and renewal project of the Houses of Parliament.
The Leader of the House will be aware that the joint Commissions—the House of Lords Commission and the House of Commons Commission—in their meeting on 17 March on restoration and renewal, decided yet again to employ more consultants. Surely, whether one wants to decant or not, what we ought to do in this House is make up our mind what we want to do. It is costing us £100 million every year we delay and it is costing us £130 million every year in maintenance. Will the Leader of the House please provide for a debate in Government time, so that we can debate the whole matter of this huge project and try to find a sensible way forward?
I thank my hon. Friend for his question. Restoration and renewal has always been a parliamentary programme and it remains so. It is for Parliament to decide how the programme evolves. We have stressed throughout that there can be no blank cheque for this work. That is why the Commission was concerned when in January it considered estimates ranging from £7 billion to £13 billion and decanting for between 12 years and 20 years. Both Commissions have therefore taken an initial decision to change the sponsor function. This is, of course, a House matter and the Government will seek to facilitate bringing that and other related decisions to the House for consideration once the Commission has completed further work on the proposed approach.