Nick Smith – 2022 Speech on the Restoration of the Palace of Westminster

The speech made by Nick Smith, the Labour MP for Blaenau Gwent, in the House of Commons on 12 July 2022.

I will be quick, Madam Deputy Speaker. My contribution tonight is born of seven years of frustration at making so little progress with this project. In 2018, I voted for the decant, as I thought it was the simplest thing to do. I also thought we would go to Richmond House, because that was the safest place for us to stay in and it was close to the Departments of State in Whitehall. I really thought it was very straightforward and I hoped we would make good progress.

Tonight, I support amendments (a) and (b). I support amendment (a) not because I think in policy the Government have stopped progress on this, but because Ministers have stymied progress on this important project. I support amendment (b) because we need new machinery and new energy to take this forward. I also support it because, although we need occasional reviews and challenge for experts, most of all we should provide the way forward through this.

Like my right hon. Friend the Member for Alyn and Deeside (Mark Tami), I think we need full transparency on cost. We need to go into this with our eyes open, but see it as an investment in our country’s history and in this great place. Most of all, I want to crack on, as we have delayed progress for far too long.