Houses Of Parliament Could Close For Five Years...Alternatives?

By M@ Last edited 68 months ago
Houses Of Parliament Could Close For Five Years...Alternatives?

It was recently revealed that the Houses of Parliament might close for up to five years for renovations. While the building is structurally sound, many of the facilities (and ideas) within the complex are said to be long out of date. In other words, they're going to decommission the secret nuclear bunker and install a state-of-the-art citizen monitoring facility, plus a reinforced concrete Pandorica to restrain George Osborne.

With the Houses of Parliament potentially out of action for the first time since WWII, where else might our Honourable Members, Lords and Ladies gather?

1. Olympic Stadium

No one's found a suitable legacy use for the stadium yet, despite protracted efforts. With a seating capacity of some 80,000, we could vastly increase the size of the two chambers, or else let the public in to watch live debates.

  • Pros: Seb Coe has worked in both Houses of Parliament AND the Olympic Stadium, so has the expertise to make this happen.
  • Cons: You'd need to get Brian Blessed in the Speaker's chair to keep order in such a large bowl. Actually, file that under 'Pros'.

2. Parliament Hill

Why the hill on Hampstead Heath is so-called remains something of a mystery. Some sources say it was defended by Parliamentarian troops in the English Civil Wars, others reckon that Guy Fawkes planned to watch his handiwork from the mount. Either way, the name would certainly be appropriate for an encamped Parliament. Better yet, we could house the Commons up here on the commons, and the Lords down the road at Lord's Cricket Ground.

  • Pros: Pleasing nominative resonance.
  • Cons: Angry Druids; rain.

3. Battersea Power Station

The crumbling landmark has received more proposals than Elizabeth Taylor, but remains an icon of the capital.

  • Pros: Would bring a cherished building back to life; close to the new US embassy and Northern Line extension.
  • Cons: Endless tabloid puns about 'hot air' escaping from the chimneys; recent failures by the Cybermen and Richard III show the building makes a crappy power base.

4. Penguin Pool, London Zoo

Berthold Lubetkin's penguin pool is an art deco classic. Sadly, the Grade I listed structure is an example of form trumping function — its avian residents were moved to more comfortable accommodation eight years ago. The 1930's pool remains as an architectural curiosity, but has no permanent purpose.

  • Pros: Photoshop fun.
  • Cons: Way too small.

5. Madame Tussauds

If there's one London venue more beloved of tourists than the current Houses of Parliament, this is it. Half the Cabinet are already present in effigy. It's within strolling distance of five rail termini. It would also allow the creation of a tricameral Parliament, with Chambers Upper, Lower and Horrors.

  • Pros: Guaranteed a full house for every debate, via strategic placement of dummies.
  • Cons: If there's one thing more sinister than the real George Osborne, it's a wax George Osborne.

Where do you reckon Parliament should be held, and why? The best answer wins a kiss from Michael Gove. Possibly.

Last Updated 03 September 2012


Most countries separate their political city from their business city (e.g. New York - Washington; Berlin - Frankfurt) to try and minimise the kind of corruption that's recently been coming to light in the UK.

Why not move parliament to Birmingham, Manchester or Leeds? Would save millions on the cheaper property prices and give politicians a taste of the real world.


Do they still have the House of Commons mock-up at the Granada Studios in Manchester? Could be a home away from home.

Chris West

Great fun, but I do prefer the wax model of our chancellor to the genuine (??) article!
They might look more natural if they returned to the playing fields of Eton, which most of them now seem to know and cherish.


When the Great Plague threatened London in 1665 Parliament moved to Hertford. Not sure if MPs would feel comfortable in the town today, its full of drunks and expensive resturants......

Pete Stean

How about moving them out of London altogether - Salford maybe? The BBC's reporting would be uninterrupted...

John Kennedy

Move parliament to Manchester at least they'll be close to the bbc ? Seriously if the Palace of Westminster requires renovating let the works take place around those who are elected to represent us. Maybe many of them will actually see/meet ordinary hard working people doing a job for a lot less than what they receive without second homes/flats and expenses.

Alan Bell

Who cares where these idiot people sit? The whole site should be cleared and a new building complex created that is actually modern and not a throw back to times gone by. Whilst they are at it, create a proper democracy because the edition we have in this country is a joke! Most importantly tell the current dictator at No.10 that the country cannot afford to do anything with this ancient relic. (Supposed to be hard up - another joke!).