The House of Lords should move outside of London during renovations rather than move to a building nearby, Michael Gove has reportedly told the Lord Speaker.
Leveling Up’s secretary is said to have written to Lord McFall of Alcluith with suggestions for locations including Stoke-on-Trent, Burnley and Sunderland.
In the letter, reported in the Sunday Times, Mr Gove said he knows that “cities and towns in the UK would be happy to extend their hospitality to colleagues”.
He is quoted as saying that, having “considered carefully the proposed arrangements”, he “will not support the use of the QEII center as an alternative site”.
The Queen Elizabeth II Center conference and exhibition space is just a few minutes’ walk from the Palace of Westminster in London.
In the letter, which was also sent to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Cabinet Secretary Simon Case, according to the Sunday Times, Mr Gove suggested a move elsewhere in England, Scotland or Wales.
He is reported to have written: “As a minister responsible for levelling, it is clear to me that moving the House of Lords, even for a temporary period, would be widely welcomed.
“I have carefully reviewed the proposed arrangements and… I will not support the use of the QEII center as an alternative location.
“I propose that you set up dedicated liaison points in my department to assist you in identifying a suitable site for the House of Lords in the North, Midlands, South West, Scotland or Wales. Of course I would like to meet you to talk about this.”
A spokesman for the Ministry of Levelling, Housing and Communities declined to comment.
Earlier this year, a report showed that rebuilding the Palace of Westminster without finding a new home for MPs could take up to 76 years, with a £22 billion repair bill.
The project’s sponsoring organization and supply authority said the cheapest option would be a “full decanting” of the palace for between 12 and 20 years, with the work costing in the region of £7bn to £13bn.
In this scenario, with MPs elsewhere for much of the time, the report estimated the restoration would take 19 to 28 years.