Burnley touted as temporary location for House of Lords with Towneley Hall and Weavers' Triangle possible sites
Burnley has been touted as a possible temporary location for the House of Lords.
The surprising news came as Secretary of State for Levelling Up Michael Gove announced that The House of Lords will be blocked from moving to a nearby building during the refurbishment of the Houses of Parliament.
Mr Gove suggested that the upper chamber of Parliament could move to Stoke-on-Trent, Burnley, Edinburgh, Sunderland, Plymouth, Wolverhampton or York.
Such a move is believed to be part of Mr Gove's levelling up plan.
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In a letter to the Lords' speaker, Lord McFall of Alcluith, Mr Gove said he would not allow the house to decamp 200 yards away to the Queen Elizabeth II Centre during the refurbishment.
Mr Gove wrote: “That list is not, of course, exclusive. I know cities and towns across the United Kingdom that would be pleased to extend their hospitality to peers.”
Burnley’s own Lord, Lord Wajid Khan of Burnley, naturally welcomed the move.
Lord Khan said: “Moving the House of Lords temporarily to Burnley would be a great idea. I’m in the shadow Levelling Up department and so I have written to Michael Gove pushing Burnley’s credentials.
"We are a fantastic town with a great interest. I think politics is too London-centric at the moment so moving the Lords to London, albeit temporarily, would be great for our democratic process.
"I think Towneley Hall could be a great location but we would need supporting infrastructure as the move would likely last around 15 years.”
Burnley Council leader, Coun. Afrasiab Anwar, also said he would welcome the move but cast doubt on whether it would happen.
He said: “We would welcome the Lords moving to Burnley to show what the North has to offer. An ideal place would be further development and investment around the historic Weavers’ Triangle.
“But we all know this is never going to happen. Just more soundbites and slogans from a government that has lost touch.
"This is just to distract from the failure that is the Levelling Up agenda and the cost of living crisis. If the government and Michael Gove are serious about levelling up the north they need to provide long term and sustainable investment and help those most vulnerable.”