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House of Lords to move to York?

Peers are set to move to a new location until 2025

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Boris Johnson is aiming to move the House of Lords permanently from London to York. The city has been seen as the first choice contender for the chamber’s new location, as revealed by The Sunday Times.

Due to the upcoming restoration plans costing £3.5 billion, peers are scheduled to move from their current home in Westminster until completion in 2025. The prime minister hopes to be able to use this opportunity to develop an entirely new site.

The move has been viewed as continued strategy by the Conservatives to secure gains made in the recent general election in former traditional Labour heartlands. International trade secretary, Alok Sharma, revealed on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show that a “shift in the location” of the House of Lords is “very good” for the country, making the case that it would bring the “government closer to the whole country”.

Following the news that the Conservative Party campaign headquarters are to move out of London to a city in the Midlands, it supports the belief that the government is attempting to rebrand as more relatable to the public.

If York is confirmed as the House of Lords’ new home, it will be the first time the city has been a focal point of political power since the English Civil War, where it held the Council of the North. Birmingham has also been discussed as a potential home for the chambers. However, logistical factors appear to have earned York a place as the frontrunner due to the government owned lands by the railway station that were identified as a “prime site”, and the good rail links between the city and the Capital.

The news of the relocation has been welcomed by many in the city. MP for York Central, Rachael Maskell, believes it will bring employment and investment for the area, especially in terms of transport, concluding in The York Press that it would be “incredible for York”.

Maskell plans to put her sentiments in writing to the Prime Minster and will lobby for the move in the proceeding months. She assured that this would not be an act of “tokenism”, nor would this idea distract her attention from her priorities in the constituency. Instead she hopes the move will bring local problems into sharper focus for those in positions of power.

Other characteristics of the chambers have also been debated. One government source revealed that regional parliamentary sessions in Sunderland or Manchester have been discussed, so the people can witness democracy in action first hand. There have also been rumours of introducing elections to the House of Lords.

This chatter follows a constitutional review that has been drawn up by Lord Salisbury this past month. The potential of an elected House of Lords would offer greater power to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, which could aid the state of the union.

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