Thursday 17 March
Headline: Andrew Marr interviews Mr Speaker
Coverage: LBC Tonight with Andrew Marr [Starts at 21minutes]
Summary: Mr Speaker was interviewed on Tonight with Andrew Marr and was briefly questioned about R&R and whether the Commons will decant during the restoration. Mr Speaker responded with his view on R&R and stressed the importance of the upcoming summer surveys.
Andrew Marr: I recently returned to the HoC, and walked along that dank corridor off which the press sits, walked into the office I’d been in in 1984 and said not much has changed. And I was told, things have changed – there are more mice. I’m beginning to think keeping Commons in building isn’t going to be possible for much longer. There’s a lot of wiring problems, lots of structural problems – in your time do you see the need for HoC to move into a different building, perhaps over road in the conference centre, while there’s a full rebuilding of the Commons?
Mr Speaker: As we know the conference centre was the option for the Lords, that was their default position, the House is going to make its mind up. I’m very concerned about the structure of the House of Commons, it matters to me, and I’ve got to make sure we’re maintaining the building. What happened was there was nothing happening, so I’ve started doing projects. You’ll see the northern estate, we’ve got a huge crane on there, we’re going to renovate those offices, so we have somewhere to put MPs into proper working conditions. We’ve started that project. We’ve been doing the cast iron roofs because the rain was coming in, the water was coming into the roof, it was seeping in all over. We’ve redone the roof and we’ve got to get on with doing that. And in the end Parliament has got to make its decision and I abide by the decision of the House. At the moment, it is a full R&R and until that changes that’s what the House says it wants to do, that’s what the House will do. But in the end, those people who say ‘well this isn’t the way forward’ – the House must take that decision. It’s not my decision to change things, it’s for the House to change them. But in the meantime, what I am not doing is allowing time to pass without doing renovations, getting on with that work while the House will talk, frustrate itself, at least I’m getting underway the big projects. We’ve got Queen Elizabeth Tower back now, its looks magnificent. So, in the meantime, while all this frustration goes on – at the moment the plan will be that we’ll wait probably 10 years before we can move out, to then a 20-year absence from the House, and £13bn.
Andrew Marr: And British politics will feel very different while that’s going on, won’t it?
Mr Speaker: If that was to ever happen. And that’s what I’m saying – are the House – and it’s not me – are the House willing to accept that £13bn and being away for 20 years. Doesn’t matter to me, I’ve had the best of it. So, it matters to the people who are going to make the decision. Cos the decision what they will say is, was made by previous MPs so in the end what I’m saying is we’ve got a mandate, that’s a full R&R, till that changes we carry on. But in the meantime, I’m going to do as much work to get the House in the best state and the best way forward. And I’ve got to say – and you’re right, your accommodation [press] is pretty awful and therefore this summer, I’m saying what are the issues with the House. How do we find out what’s wrong with the House? I want a full survey, I want in-depth surveys, I want piles…I want to know what the House…how good is it…how bad is it…but I want to put it right. I want to make sure you have the right accommodation, and you have the right chamber. So, this summer is a real test of…let’s find out what is actually wrong and what needs doing in the House of Commons because the one thing that nobody can tell me at the moment is...what does it need. Nobody knows.
'I was told, things have changed – there are more mice' lol