If the devastating fire that swept through Notre Dame last week does not ring alarm bells among the complacent Westminster MPs about the perils of their own building, nothing will.
Unbelievably, MPs have been dithering for years about the restoration of the Palace of Westminster as the building continues to disintegrate before their very eyes. Stop haggling and get on with it!
It is not sensationalising the case at all to express the real fear that someone could be killed unless renovations commence. Already lumps of masonry have been falling off the edifice and it is a wonder no one has been hurt, or even killed, by this alarming evidence of the state of the fabric of the building. And listen to what shocked Labour MP Anna Turley was told when she was first elected to Westminster in 2015: “On my induction, my ‘buddy’ was an engineer,” she said. “He showed me the electrics – it looked a health and safety disaster (and fire) waiting to happen.”
What’s more, Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington has grimly warned that the prospects of a catastrophic fire at Westminster increase as each year passes.
What more evidence do our ministers and MPs require before they allow the vital restoration to go ahead? More delay could be tragic.
- MPs have gone away on holiday, but, alas, Brexit has not gone away. Brexit does not take holidays.
But, before we carp at the fact MPs are swanning around at the seaside just as the nation endures its biggest political crisis for years, let us just consider a few facts. First of all, the fact that Parliament is not in session saves the British taxpayer thousands of pounds – a bonus in itself.
It also means we shall not have to endure wall-to-wall Brexit coverage for a few days – a relief all round. Let us hope, too, that the Prime Minister does not do anything silly while on her holiday in Wales. The last time she went there she dreamed up the madcap plan to hold a general election...
But fear not, MPs will return to Westminster after their Easter break with renewed vigour and venom to carry on the bitter battle where they left off.