Museum Proposal for Houses of Parliament ??

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Museum Proposal for Houses of Parliament ??

Postby Paul Clerkin » Thu Jul 15, 2004 3:48 pm

Lords Staff, PA News

The Palace of Westminster should be turned into “a museum of democracy” and plans should begin for the building of a 21st century parliamentary building, a senior Liberal Democrat said today.

A question time, party deputy leader in the Lords Lord McNally, said: “If the Palace were turned over to a museum of democracy and plans were set in hand to build a 21st century parliament, the new building would not have the influence of turning thinking into old thinking.

“It would invigorate the whole of our democracy by putting our parliamentarians into a 21st century and radical frame of mind.”

Chairman of Committees crossbencher Lord Brabazon of Tara replied: “I don’t, on the whole, agree with you.”

Tory former consumer affairs minister Baroness Oppenheim-Barnes protested about the booth set up on nearby College Green for sale of tourist admission tickets to the Palace of Westminster during the summer break.

She said: “Some people have described it as a cross between a hot-dog stand and a hoopla stall,” adding: “Do you really believe it is in keeping with the dignity and beauty of the Houses of Parliament?”

Lord Brabazon said that, whatever its limitations, the design had been approved by a joint parliamentary steering group, in conjunction with the Parliamentary Estates director.

He added: “I appreciate that it might not be to everyone’s taste but the architect liked it.

“Given security considerations and pressure on space within the Palace of Westminster, a ticket office outside the Palace is necessary. Options for creating a permanent office are being taken forward.”

Tory former minister Lord Cope of Berkeley said Lord McNally “was calling for this Parliament to imitate the Scottish Parliament in setting up a new building.

“Apart from the expense, which I think in Scotland has risen from £40 million to £400 million so far, I don’t think it has enhanced the behaviour of the Scottish Parliament.”

Lord Brabazon replied: “I’m sure there are lessons to be learned from the building of the Scottish Parliament and no doubt in relation to the building of a Supreme Court.”

Former Liberal Party leader and ex-Scottish Parliament Presiding Officer Lord Steel of Aikwood said: “After the building of this Palace, Benjamin Disraeli suggested that the architect should be hanged.”

Lord Brabazon replied: “I don’t think we’d go that far with the architect of the ticket booth across the road.”
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