MP says Britain should have purpose-built Parliament - in Birmingham
The Palace of Westminster should be converted into a luxury hotel and tourist attraction, a former architecture and heritage minister has said.
And a brand new Parliament – possibly outside London – should be commissioned from one of the country’s leading architects, said Ed Vaizey.
Vaizey, a popular architecture minister in the coalition government, was speaking exclusively to BD in the lavishly decorated Pugin Room, a room actually in the House of Lords which is used by the Commons for entertaining guests.
He said: “This country should close this building. It should become a heritage site and luxury hotel owned by Historic Royal Palaces. Then we should build an entirely new Parliamentary complex that reflects modern Britain.”
He added: “I would be open to it being built somewhere like Birmingham. It would be quite exciting to move Parliament to Birmingham. It would help get HS2 built. All the opposition would fade away.”
Parliament is about to undergo a £4bn highly complex renewal and restoration programme led by BDP.
Legislators voted for the cheaper, faster option of decanting MPs and peers. Discussions are still going on but the most likely contender for a temporary Commons chamber would be Richmond House on Whitehall – with AHMM appointed to do the conversion. The Lords would move to the QEII Centre on the far side of Parliament Square.
Conservationists have objected to the damage to William Whitfield and Andrew Lockwood’s 1987 Richmond House. Save released a counter-proposal by Michael Hopkins to convert his practice’s Portcullis House into the Commons chamber.
Vaizey said Hopkins’ plans were worth considering, and also praised Gensler’s idea of a floating Parliament on the Thames.
But he also joked that he’d like to commission artist Jeremy Deller to create an inflatable chamber in Hyde Park.