Following decisions by the House Commissions in February, the sponsor body paused its work on producing a business case for the restoration and renewal programme. The two Commissions have now proposed a new approach for how the programme should be governed and delivered. The hon. Lady will be pleased to know that the Commissions recommend that a priority area for the work should be
“Conservation of the building fabric including stonework.”
It is intended that the new proposals will be put to Members of both Houses for debate and decision before the summer recess.
I recently took a restoration and renewal Palace tour and saw historically significant artwork painted directly on to the stone in parts of the building that are at risk of flooding. How it can be ensured that that artwork is not lost for future generations to enjoy and that it is properly protected during restoration works?
That is an extremely good question. As I sit on the sponsor board, I can say that that is an absolute priority for everybody working for the delivery authority. A huge amount of work has already been done in listing and understanding every part of the fabric and every piece of artwork; the hon. Lady can rest assured that, once the works commence, every effort will be made to remove those artworks so that they are not in any way damaged.