'DEATHTRAP PARLIAMENT': Terrified MPs demand action as crumbling Parliament risks injury 

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Posted on Aug 9 2018 - 12:26am by admin

There has been an apparent increase of incidents where lumps of stonework fall off the building, while many MPs can tell of regularly experiencing unpleasant lavatory pipework leaks into their Commons offices.

A massive refurbishment is planned – billed as the biggest and most complex renovation of any single building in Britain’s history.

MPs and peers agreed earlier this year they would move out temporarily, to allow a wholesale restoration to be done in a single phase, seen as the most cost-efficient.

But despite warnings dating back to at  least 2000 that major work was needed on the Palace’s ageing fabric, plumbing and electrics, the fullscale “restoration and renewal” project is not due to start until the mid-2020s, at the earliest.

Governments and politicians are accused of dragging their feet on moves to protect the Grade 1 listed building for future generations, for fear of angering voters by approving the multi-billion pound spend.

There will be further votes in Parliament finally to approve the £5.6billion plans, and put Olympic-style delivery authorities on a legal footing to manage the work.

Meanwhile, smaller projects are ongoing – along with crisis work to tackle all the new problems that spring up.

Last year, a falling bit of stone smashed the windscreen of an MP’s car, and earlier this year a pavement was cordoned off after a football-sized piece of masonry broke off a stone angel and plummeted to the ground.

Tory former Cabinet minister Damian Green told a Commons debate earlier this year: “It might be an exaggeration to say that Parliament is a death trap – but it’s not a wild exaggeration.”

Parliament along with nearby Westminster Abbey and St Margaret’s church forms part of the UNESCO Westminster world Heritage Site.

The iconic building was built in the mid-1800s to replace a predecessor destroyed by fire. However, its oldest part, Westminster Hall, was built in 1099 and survived that fire and more recently bombing in the Second World War.

The Hall’s hammer beam roof is currently undergoing a major refurbishment, as is Parliament’s probably most renowned feature, the Elizabeth Tower with its famous four-sided clockface housing the bell known as Big Ben.

The tower is currently shrouded in scaffolding and Big Ben will ben silent until the project’s planned end in 2021,  except for “important national events” such as New Year’s Eve and Remembrance Sunday.

Brexiteers want the bell to chime on Brexit day next March 29 but have so far been rebuffed.

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