Questions over plan for York to be location for temporary parliament

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Questions over plan for York to be location for temporary parliament

Moves to chose York as the temporary home for Parliament have sparked praise from those who say it would be a boost for the northern economy but questions about whether the ancient city is the best location.

The Prime Minister’s backing for the city follows earlier suggestions that it could be the site of a second centre of government, with the relocation of whole departments, or a new home for the House of Lords.

However, proposals that the Lords could move to York prompted one peer to note that the city was seen as “something of an outer Mongolia by the general public.

While Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham commented: “Moving an unelected House to a part of the North that looks most like the South won’t ‘level up’ the country.”

Local politicians have welcomed the idea that Parliament and government departments could move 200 miles north, but many people took to social media to complain that the city is too small to accommodate the influx of people.

Others said other northern towns were more in need of the economic boost the move would bring.

One Twitter user said: “If #Parliament is to head north, then (no snobbery pls) #Doncaster would be a better choice. It’s on mainline rail, has a local airport, excellent motorway links, more space, cheaper premises, less congestion and needs inward investment much more than an already prosperous #York.”

“York’s economy has not thrived in recent years, and yet the possibility of developing high-skilled jobs in the city will realise its potential.”

Parliament has sat in York a number of times before, but mainly in the 14th century. It is also the 1570 birthplace of Guy Fawkes.

The focus of attention for any new government hub is on a huge brownfield site called York Central, next to the city’s main railway station, which has been described as one of the biggest development opportunities in Europe.

Earlier this week, City of York Council leader Keith Aspden wrote to Mr Johnson expressing his support for any plan to relocate elements of government to this site.

The House of Lords debated the idea of a move to York earlier this week, during which Lord Singh of Wimbledon said: “York is seen as something of an Outer Mongolia by the general public, who view the House of Lords as an outdated institution.”

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