WORRIED MPs plan to force Theresa May’s hand on approving a £6billion restoration of Parliament – amid fury over 18 months of dithering by No 10.
The Sun can reveal Tory backbencher Sir Edward Leigh is close to securing a six-hour Commons debate at the end of the month in a bid to compel the Government to begin urgent repairs.
The move comes 24 hours after a drainage problem forced red-faced officials to close of dozens of toilets in the seat of power.
Officials on the so-called Backbench Committee have yet to take a final decision – but have pencilled in a possible date.
Sir Edward said: “It’s a difficult and controversial issue because of suggestions we may all need to the leave the building. But we need to get on with it.
“We should decide, one way or another, what we are going to do.”
His motion will urge MPs to support the immediate beginning of restoration work – but with MPs and peers allowed to remain on site while work takes place.
A cross-party group of MPs published a mammoth report on plans for a £4billion, six-year restoration in the middle of 2016.
A second £6billion option would involve MPs and peers staying in Parliament while work was carried out around them.
The report warned of an “impending crisis” in the Palace of Westminster because of exposed electricity cables, water leaks and Victorian sewers.
But the Government has refused to act. Backbenchers accuse the PM of turning a blind eye to the dire need for repairs because of the controversy involved with either ordering MPs to leave the site – or asking taxpayers for billions of pounds.
The Commons’ backbench committee gives MPs the chance to bring forward debates of their choice. Sources claim they would prefer a minister to come to the House to lead a debate.
Cabinet ministers discussed the idea of a ministerial statement on the issue earlier this week – but nothing has been confirmed.
It is thought ministers want a fresh two-year inquiry into what options are available to the Government.
One furious MP told the Sun today: “They’re just kicking the can down the road.
“In the main car park there’s running water over cables, and, of course, there are the chronic drainage problems. Staff had to have a hepatitis jab 18 months ago because of s**t running down the walls.
“Something has to happen.”
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