The Guardian has published a long-read article on the state of the Palace of Westminster, featuring quotes from Crick Centre Director, Professor Matthew Flinders, based on the research from our Designing for Democracy research and public engagement programme.
The article ‘A tale of decay’: the Houses of Parliament are falling down highlights the problems with the infrastructure of the Palace of Westminster, and the delays to the Restoration and Renewal programme which aims to build a parliament fit for the twenty-first century.
In the article, Professor Flinders highlights the relationship between a legislative building and the culture within, arguing that the Palace of Westminster fits a “very aggressive, very masculine, very power-hoarding democracy”. He further discusses how this culture may be affected by a temporary move out of the Palace:
Some of them fear that moving out of the Palace of Westminster could indelibly alter parliament’s culture. Flinders said: “There are those who realise that if they allow new intakes of MPs to go into a new chamber, with new atmospheres, new ways of doing things, places for everyone to sit, new procedures, new ways of talking, they may refuse to go back into what may to them feel like an antique shop.”
Professor Flinders also notes the concern from members of the House of Lords about the potential decant from the Palace: “Some in the Lords are worried that they are going to come back and find the locks have been changed”.
You can also listen to a podcast version of the article: ‘A tale of decay’: the Houses of Parliament are falling down – podcast
Find out more about the Designing for Democracy programme.