Our Parliament belongs in the capital city

1995 library filer of Chris Moncrieff. Photo by Peter Smith/PA

1995 library filer of Chris Moncrieff. Photo by Peter Smith/PA

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It would be the height of folly to ship our MPs out of London while the crumbling Palace of Westminster is being renovated.

What seems to be obvious, however, is the place should be emptied of occupants so this work can go ahead speedily without anything to hamper the operation. That, for a start, would probably save billions of pounds.

But Parliament belongs in the capital and to move it, even temporarily, to the provinces would simply be wrong, costly and could even tempt some unscrupulous MPs to yet further expenses fiddling.

When the Commons chamber was bombed during the War, the Commons sat in the House of Lords and the Lords sat in nearby Church House. If they could cope during the war, they should surely cope now.

Church House, the QE2 Centre and Methodist Central Hall are all within a stone’s throw of the Palace of Westminster. And the new Portcullis House is also there to accommodate the offices of scores of MPs. The Government should resist the ludicrous blandishments of those Members who are already calling for Parliament to be moved temporarily to their constituencies.

Call me London-centric if you must, but the capital is where Parliament should remain, come what may.

From zero to hero and back to zero again. That has been the fate of Ed Miliband. In 2010, few people knew what he looked like or may not even have heard of him, until he suddenly bounded into the Labour leadership contest, effectively stabbed his brother David in the back, and took the crown. But at what price?

He created a rift in his own family and then proceeded to lead Labour to defeat on May 7. Ed Miliband is now being portrayed as some sort of incompetent by some fellow Labour MPs. It is too late to grumble now though. The gate has been shut, but the horse has long since bolted.

Andy Burnham, the favourite in the current leadership race, has described the party’s image under Ed Miliband as “toxic”. If Burnham and others were aware that Ed was leading the party to a catastrophic defeat, why did they not have the guts to say so before it was too late?

I doubt whether this attempt to denigrate Ed Miliband after the event for which they were all responsible will cut much ice with those voting in this contest.