House of Lords could move to York under Boris Johnson’s constitutional shake-up

Posted On: 
19th January 2020

The House of Lords could be moved permanently to York under plans being considered by Boris Johnson.

Birmingham is also a contender for the upper chamber's new home
Credit: 
House of Lords

The Prime Minister has ordered work to start on the shake-up that could also see Birmingham as a frontrunner destination for the upper chamber.

According to The Sunday Times, a constitutional review being launched in the Spring will consider moving the Lords away from London.

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The move will also scrutinise the role and powers of the Supreme Court and Lord Chancellor.

Under the bid to move more than 800 peers outside of Westminster, a disused government-owned site near York railway station has been earmarked as a potential place to set up a new chamber. 

A Number 10 source told the paper: “This will serve as a strong signal that we are serious about refocusing attention and investment away from London. It will set an example for the rest of the public sector and, of course, businesses looking to expand beyond the M25.”

And a government source added: “The York proposal is much further along. The PM is also keen to have parliamentary sessions in the regions, be it Sunderland or Manchester, so people get a chance to feel democracy in action first hand.”
 
The House of Commons is also planned to tour the country for several days in cities outside of London, as a way to connect Parliament better to outside the Westminster bubble.

It comes after the Conservative party confirmed it is moving its campaign headquarters outside of the capital, likely to the Midlands in another show of trying to consolidate its influence in former Labour heartlands. 

If York is chosen for setting up a new House of Lords, it will be the first time the city has been a hub of political power since the English Civil War.

The move also shows the PM capitalising on the Houses of Parliament’s multi-billion-pound restoration project, which will already see peers moved out of their current workplace to the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in 2025, for six years.

It is believed a three-hour train journey between York and London will be possible for ministers and officials but the practicalities of a state opening are yet to be decided. 

Speaking to Sky News' Sophy Ridge, Conservative party chairman James Cleverly confirmed the review into the Lords, saying: “It’s one of a range of things we’re looking at. Trust me we’re going to be radical.”

Who will oversee the review is also yet to be confirmed.