Majority of the public think that Parliament should leave London

Matthew SmithLead data journalist
September 20, 2016, 11:29 AM UTC

Should repair work mean that Parliament has to leave the Palace of Westminster, 54% of people think that it should leave London as well

For years now, Parliament has been putting off a key infrastructure decision. No, it’s not Heathrow, or Hinkley – it’s what should happen to the Palace of Westminster, the building in which the House of Commons and House of Lords sit.

Some areas of the venerable building have not undergone any restoration since the Palace was built in 1834. The roofs are leaking, internal plumbing frequently fails, asbestos remains throughout the building and it is infested with mice.

Earlier this month, the joint committee on the Palace of Westminster released a report that its preferred option for the renovation was to relocate MPs and Lords from the Palace entirely for six years whilst repairs were made.

If Parliament has to leave the Palace of Westminster, where should it go? YouGov research has found that 54% of people think that Parliament should leave London, whilst 46% think it should stay in the capital.

Among those who think that it should leave London, the majority think it should relocate to either the North or the Midlands, which collectively receive 37% of the vote. All other parts of the UK were preferred by fewer than 10% of people.

There was significant regional variation in the responses. The majority of people living in each part of the South (London, Rest of South and East of England) all thought that Parliament should stay in London. Londoners are particularly fervent, with 70% saying that it should remain in the capital.

The majority of people in all other parts of Britain, however, all thought that Parliament should leave the South, although there is no real consensus on where it should move to. People in the Midlands and the North were the most keen on bringing Parliament to their own regions – with 45% and 44% in favour respectively – and it was a more popular option in both regions than leaving Parliament in London.

By contrast, people in Wales and Scotland – which have their own devolved assemblies – were much more likely to prefer that Parliament stayed put in London (41% and 35% respectively) than come to them (20% and 19%).

Photo: PA

See the full results here