Since I became the MP for Dartford in 2010, work to repair different parts of the 1,100-room Palace of Westminster has been the norm.
From the painstaking procedure of renewing the individual floor tiles in Central Lobby, to the scaffolding on different parts of the iconic buildings, I have never known a time where repair work was not being carried out.
This year has not been without major work. Scaffolding has been erected around the Elizabeth Tower, so work can be done on both the tower itself and the Great Clock. As part of this project, the Great Clock will be carefully dismantled and restored. This work is expected to last four years in total and, during much of this time, the chimes on Big Ben will be stopped to protect the people at work. Stopping the chimes of Big Ben has caused much debate, but it is very important this major conservation work is carried out.
In the New Year MPs will debate the future of the Palace of Westminster, which needs major and increasingly urgent repairs. A report published last year concluded the Palace ‘faces an impending crisis’ which can’t be ignored.
This major work could lead to a full or partial move out of Parliament while the work is completed.
Working here in Parliament is a real honour, and I hope whatever decisions are made about the restoration programme, the work will be carried out effectively. Restoration of the Palace of Westminster is not so much for the benefit of current Parliamentarians and visitors but for future generations so this place will be a national treasure for generations to come.