Joint Committee opens 'window of opportunity' for democracy with recommendations for restoration of Westminster
8 September 2016
Professor Matthew Flinders, Chair of the Political Studies Association, has today (8 September 2016) welcomed the Joint Committee on the Palace of Westminster’s recommendation that MPs should leave the palace of Westminster en masse in order for the restoration and renewal of the building to take place in the quickest and most efficient manner possible.
“This is not simply a politically brave proposal but it is also the correct proposal,” said Professor Flinders who sees it as a chance for Parliament to better engage with the public. “Spending money on political institutions is never going to be popular but this a key window of opportunity to change the way we ‘do’ politics.”
The Joint Committee’s recommendations come after the 2015 Independent Options Appraisal concluded, 'the risk of catastrophic failure is increasing... and a major failure of the existing service infrastructure is inevitable’.
Professor Flinders has condemned previous attempts to shy away from investing in democracy, arguing: “the state of the building means that doing nothing and continuing to bury our heads in the sand is no longer an option.”
The current cohort of MPs should now embrace the Restoration and Renewal programme as a positive opportunity to redefine democracy in the UK. “This is the huge prize on offer to a parliament and government that is brave enough to seize the initiative,” said the academic.
Research conducted by Professor Flinders' 'Designing for Democracy’ programme has recommended that the restoration should connect the physical footprint of the building with a digital footprint that facilitates real engagement.
Notes to Editors
Professor Flinders is Chair of the Political Studies Association and Founding Director of the Sir Bernard Crick Centre for the Public Understanding of Politics at the University of Sheffield. He also leads a research and public engagement programme called ‘Designing for Democracy’ (www.designingfordemocracy.com) which has worked closely with research-users within the Palace of Westminster to provide an evidence-base for recommendations on the restoration, and has held public engagement sessions on the topic.