MICHAEL Gove has said relocating the House of Lords to Glasgow would be a “great thing”.

Speaking to Times Radio, Gove, originally from Aberdeen, suggested that as part of the Levelling Up project the House of Lords could leave London.

“We’ve got our friends in the House of Lords who will have to move out of their current building, at the moment, because of the renovation of the Palace of Westminster," he told the broadcaster.

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“I think it’d be a really good thing if the House of Lords were to meet for at least part of the time in Glasgow or in York. I think it would do us all good.”

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Credit: George Carmichael

But during a Commons exchange later, Labour MP for York Central Rachael Maskell urged him to “throw us a proper agenda for restoring the housing crisis in York”, rather than “throwing us dead cats of the House of Lords”.

Maskell said: “The broken housing market is the biggest driver of inequality across York with the boom of second homes and holiday lets. And therefore the aspirations of the people of York are being denied. So rather than throwing us dead cats of the House of Lords, would he throw us a proper agenda for restoring the housing crisis in York?”

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Gove replied: “Firstly, she is absolutely right, there are things we need to do to tackle the housing market, in particular the second homes issue, it is complex as she understands but there is more that needs to be done. Secondly, I hope that she will support the proposed mayoral deal for York and North Yorkshire, which I think will give some of the powers necessary in order to deal with the problems that she mentioned.

“And thirdly, the House of Lords in York or for that matter in Glasgow, I think it would be a great thing.”

However, the suggestion was not popular with representatives from the Scottish city. The SNP’s David Linden, one of the party's seven MPs in the city who represents Glasgow East, said that in short his message to the minister is: “How about naw."

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“Other than Lesotho, the UK’s House of Lords is the only other place in the world where hereditary chieftains retain the right to make law.

“Indeed, other than Iran, the UK’s House of Lords is the only other place in the world where clerics have the right to make law.

“The House of Lords is a thoroughly undemocratic institution which has no place in the 21st century. Glasgow is literally the friendliest and most welcoming city in the world but even we wouldn’t want to host this flawed and undemocratic relic which is symbolic of all that’s wrong with the United Kingdom.”

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Another Glasgow MP responded by simply laughing at Gove’s suggestion.

Meanwhile, the SNP’s Shadow Leader of the House Pete Wishart MP said: “Michael Gove has, yet again, demonstrated how out of touch he is with the prioritise of the Scottish people. 

“The House of Lords is a stain on the fundamental principles of our democracy - and that view is shared by the vast majority of Scots. 

“However, both the Tories and Labour refuse to call it out for what it is. That is why the only way to rid ourselves of this outdated, corrupt system is to become an independent country.”

The Lords’ Chamber is set to be restored as part of a major renovation of the Houses of Parliament, which could cost up to £14 billion according to some estimations. Some sources close to the renovation suggested the project could take up to 20 years, warning the “palace is falling apart faster than it can be fixed”.

Peers are expected to be relocated to a nearby pop-up Chamber while the development takes place.

In 2020, it was first suggested that peers could be shifted up to York during the restoration period. However, parliamentary authorities said this couldn’t happen due to “constitutional implications” – and it was decided that the idea wouldn’t be explored as part of the official renovation strategic review.

Some peers had never approved of the proposals anyway, with one noting that York had been “seen as something of an outer Mongolia by the general public”.