London (AFP) – British MPs on Wednesday voted in favour of moving out of their historic Westminster home, to make way for major renovation work of the iconic Houses of Parliament.
Lawmakers backed the decision for a “full and timely decant” of parliament by 234 votes to 185, paving the way for a multi-billion-pound revamp of the dilapidated complex.
“This debate arguably should have taken place about 40 years ago,” said House of Commons leader Andrea Leadsom at the start of the debate.
“The Palace of Westminster is the seat of our democracy, an iconic world-famous building and it is in dire need of repair,” she added.
Much of the Palace dates from the mid-1800s, while Westminster Hall was built in 1099.
The complex is part of the UNESCO Westminster World Heritage Site and includes the Houses of Parliament and the clock tower housing Big Ben, which is already undergoing work.
Conditions are considered dire, with a Commons committee listing fire, sewage inundation and electrical failure among possible risks if urgent repairs are not carried out.