Parliamentary Buildings (Restoration and Renewal) Bill

Written evidence submitted by Crispin Passmore (PBB02)

Dear Sir or Madam

I would like you to take this opportunity to move parliament to a modern building that reflects a modern democracy. That means handing the current estate over to a museum or similar public building, perhaps themed on UK as a crucible of modern democracies.

A new parliament could be purpose built for the way Parliament needs to work. Anyone that has been to Cardiff or Edinburgh parliaments is impressed. I have worked with politicians in both, with officials in both and as a member of the public. I have no doubt that it would be a positive step for engagement, working styles and public engagement and transparency. I have worked in Westminster and the house too and it is the antithesis of a modern Parliament.

My next point is that it should not be built in London but in the midlands. I suggest Birmingham/Birmingham International near HS2 terminal. This would aid the rebalancing of our economy and by much cheaper. It would aid recruitment and again demonstrate that you are not a London centred Parliament.

I know that many Parliamentarians will make the argument that you have to be in London. They are the same arguments that civil servants made when you moved them out of London. They are the same arguments that senior civil servants made when you moved them out of London. They are the same arguments that regulators. Made when you moved them to Birmingham. They are the same arguments that Met Office made when you made them move to Exeter. Those moves have been a success. They will be for Parliament too.

The private sector is already moving out of London. Big law, banks, telecoms etc are all moving elsewhere. Manufacturing, energy and academia is already elsewhere. Your people live elsewhere, indeed most of you live in constituencies elsewhere.

Please note that even before HS2 it is perfectly possible to get back to London for meetings. I live in Kenilworth and have travelled to London for work for over 15 years. I did that every day for ten years. Then three days a week for five years. And now I run my own business I come and go as I need to - working on the train and being very productive. It is m

If you gave this decision to independent experts, they would move you out of London. But just like the leaders of public bodies you will make a different decision if you make it yourselves. Almost all countries separate their finance, government and culture centres (by accident or design) into three different cities. When they don’t they have massive imbalance - such as UK and France.

Tearing down Richmond House is a disgrace. It’s Grade Two listed and an important building in Whitehall.

Please make sure all your decision makers see this - including all MPs that will vote.

Regards

Crispin

 

Prepared 5th June 2019