The multi-billion-pound refurbishment of the Palace of Westminster presents an opportunity that comes once in a century-and-a-half to reform the leading institution of our democracy and its environs. What principles should shape reform of its culture and practices? How can innovation blend better with tradition? And how might public engagement be enhanced?
Our submission to the Public Accounts Committee highlighted the financial and practical challenges that MPs face in deciding the fate of Parliament’s Restoration and Renewal programme. We particularly questioned the viability of the proposal to continue operating the House of Commons Chamber in the middle of a building site.
The recent 2020 World e-Parliament Report, produced by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), captures a picture of modernising parliaments, transformed by the strategic use of digital technologies. The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated pre-existing trends and will leave a lasting impact, especially if parliaments now embed the lessons learned.
On 20 May 2021 MPs will debate the Restoration and Renewal of the Palace of Westminster, laying down a marker about their future expectations for the project. We set out why MPs should support decant and focus on the long-term legacy.
The Strategic Review of the Palace of Westminster Restoration and Renewal programme has been published, after 10 months’ work – but political factors mean that implementation of the programme’s main conclusion, that there will be a ‘full decant’ from the building while work takes place, remains in doubt.
The Coronavirus pandemic has added to the questions surrounding the nature of the Parliament that should emerge from the Palace of Westminster Restoration and Renewal programme. But, with concerns over the programme’s governance and public engagement rising, the report arising from the current review of the programme will not now be published this year.
The Coronavirus pandemic has presented parliaments with significant technical, procedural and political challenges, at Westminster and around the world. This page brings together our Covid-19 content, covering the UK Parliament’s adaptation to the crisis, UK Coronavirus-related Statutory Instruments, and the responses of other legislatures around the world.