DELAYS to the renovation of Westminster are costing £2.5 million per week, according to the chair of the Public Accounts Committee.

Dame Meg Hillier MP, the Labour MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch, said there is an “unacceptable cloak of secrecy” around plans for the restoration of the UK’s parliament building.

Just before Christmas the decision to scrap the sponsor body which was set up by parliament to manage the renovation project came into force.

The Commissions of the House of Commons and Lords, which is made up of senior parliamentarians, clerks and speakers, voiced concerns over the projected costs of the renovation calculated by the sponsor body, which was between £7 and £22 billion.

Now, the project in back in the hands of MPs. However, Hillier said that the decision to scrap the sponsor body has set the renovation back to “square one”.

“I could weep for the five years we’ve lost,” Hillier told Sky News.

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“There was a real issue here about shooting the messenger.

“It feels very much like we are back to square one. Now we have no sponsor body, no plans to carry out the work, and there’s still argument about whether we should stay in the building while the work is done or not.

“This is not about us as MPs. This is about a building that belongs to the country – yes, it will cost a lot of money but you can’t dodge it.”

In recent years repair work has been carried out on the Elizabeth Tower, Big Ben and the ceiling of St Stephen’s Hall.

However, the building’s vast basement is of particular concern with dripping water pipes, electrical wiring, telephone cables and even a working steam engine all requiring attention.

Last year, a leak in the building exposed more than 100 contractors and staff to asbestos.

But Conservative MP Edward Leigh backed the decision to scrap the sponsor body despite the urgency of the some of the repairs.

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"There are ways of doing it that mean you don't have to move everybody out at vast expense," he claimed.

"We can't have a very expensive gold-plated plan, especially when the economy is in tatters - the public would look askance at parliament spending £20bn on itself."

There remains no consensus in the UK Parliament over where MPs would move to during renovation works if such a measure became necessary.

Boris Johnson asked officials to explore sending the Lords to York despite long-held plans to move them into the nearby Queen Elizabeth Conference Centre.

However, last year Michael Gove suggested that he would prefer to see them moved to Stoke.

MPs are expected to vote on a new strategy for renovations before the end of 2023.

The SNP have previously criticised the desire among some MPs to remain in the House of Commons during renovation work, calling it "a daft route to go down" and highlighting that not all citizens felt the same emotional attachment to the Chamber as the Conservatives. 

"It is not somewhere that everybody has got that deep feeling of love for," said SNP MP Kirsty Blackman in 2021

"And I think it’s something the general public could do without for quite a period of time during the course of the decant."