On 14th July Lord Young of Cookham asked Her Majesty’s Government “whether they plan to relocate the House of Lords to York.” The Rt Revd David Urquhart, Bishop of Birmingham, asked a follow up question focusing on the relocation of the House of Lords.
The Lord Bishop of Birmingham: Does the Minister agree that, whether temporarily or permanently, it is better, in a bicameral system, as the noble Lord, Lord Lang, alluded to, for the two Houses to be placed together? In terms of reaching the people, would he also commend the Lord Speaker’s outreach programme to bring civic duties and understanding to schools as a good way of communicating? By the way, when this was last talked about here, the incoming Archbishop of York offered his garden, which is extensive, as a place. May I humbly suggest that there is a nearer alternative in Birmingham?
Lord True: I am not going to interpose my body between Birmingham and York. The right reverend Prelate is correct that outreach is important. To give an example, I had the honour of chairing your Lordships’ Select Committee on Intergenerational Fairness and Provision; I took evidence in Doncaster, which was illuminating and helpful. The broader context of this debate and discussion, in so far as it has started, is that the Government intend to take parts of the central Civil Service out of London. We intend to bring the process of government closer to the people. We in this House should not shut ourselves away from considering how we can do that. The right reverend Prelate referred to a very good ongoing practice.