MPs turned away from House of Commons as flood water drenches seats in chamber

MPs turned away from House of Commons as flood water drenches seats in chamber
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Anna Fox

By Anna Fox

Published: 11/07/2022

- 15:30

Updated: 14/02/2023

- 10:51

MPs turned away from the House as flood water drenched the green benches

MPs were turned away from the House of Commons chamber earlier today, as water gushed through the ceiling as a result of a leak.

Numerous buckets were seen scattered across the green benches, catching the pouring water which trickled through the rooftop.

The sitting was delayed for 60 minutes as experts assessed the leak, with a large protective sheet being draped over the central table, to prevent further water damage.

While Britain is currently enduring a heatwave, the source of the leak is unclear.

Plans to renovate the crumbling Palace of Westminster were delayed amid concerns of soaring cost in materials.

Today's sitting were delayed due to the leak
Today's sitting were delayed due to the leak
Wiki Commons

Deputy Speaker of the House Nigel Evans
Deputy Speaker of the House Nigel Evans
UK Parliament

A House of Commons spokesman said: “We are aware of a water leak on the estate and are taking urgent action to resolve it.”

MPs were seen arriving to the chamber for the afternoon sitting, blissfully unaware of the extensive leaks.

A message on the annunciator monitors in Parliament stated: “Today’s sitting is delayed due to a water leak in the chamber. Revised sitting time to be announced.”

The House of Commons session was scheduled to start at 2:30pm with prayers followed by work and pensions questions.

Police officers were seen entering the Commons, wielding what appeared to be water-absorbent blankets, with entry restricted to authorised personnel.

Labour MP Emma Hardy who walked in before being turned away, said the water leak appears to be “just in front of the despatch box”.

The MP for Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle said: “I have just walked through and there are a lot of people working, around six or seven.

“Lots of blankets on the floor and a machine, which I’m not quite sure what is doing.

“It (the leak) is just in front of the despatch box, but the roof looks fine.”

Ms Hardy said she was told the issue should be resolved “as quickly as possible”.

Commons Deputy Speaker Nigel Evans said: “Somebody has just said to me this is one leak where we don’t need an inquiry.”

Conservative MP Flick Drummond (Meon Valley) said: “We have got DWP questions, which are really important. So it is a bit irritating to have that starting late. And it pushes everything else back too, so we might have a very late night tonight.”

Asked if the incident concerned her, she replied: “Yes, I have done the basement tour. This is a very dangerous place to be.

“I can tell you, we need to do some restoration very quickly on this and perhaps I think the only way we are going to do that is to move out now because it’s going to be too expensive.

“But yes, we have water leaks, we have things falling down from ceilings and downstairs, the electricity cables and gas and water leaks.”

In April 2019, water pouring into the Commons forced an abandonment of the sitting.

This occurred during a debate on tax matters and, while proceedings carried on for a few minutes, the noise of water pouring into the press gallery soon became overwhelming.

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