Moving CCHQ out of London appears to be only a start for Number Ten. According to the Sunday Times, it intends to do the same to the House of Lords.
In the case of CCHQ, Downing Street wants Conservative activists’ ideas about where CCHQ’s new home should be. In the case of the Upper House, it seems already to have decided.
It apparently plans a move for the Lords to that most beautiful of British cities, York – a mere two hours to London by train.
This site’s first reaction to the news was to wonder how the plan would accomodate the Queen’s Speech. The report asks the same question. We propose a solution.
The State Opening ceremonial procedure begins “with the Queen’s procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster, escorted by the Household Cavalry”.
We suggest that the magnificent state coach wends its stately way from the Palace to York along the slow lane of the A1 – via Finchley Road, Brent Cross and the Doncaster by-pass.
By car, the journey would take under four hours. The state coach would necessarily take rather longer, especially since enthuastic crowds could be expected to cheer the Queen as she makes her way north.
After she has arrived at the new York-located House of Lords, Black Rod could zip down to King’s Cross from the city’s splendid railway station. We see no reason for him to travel second-class.
He could then make his way by tube from King’s Cross to Westminster, making the short walk from the station’s main exit to St Stephen’s Entrance, and thence to the Commons.
Or else he could enter the Palace of Westminster via Porcullis House. But these are details. Our readers will remember that MPs then walk from the Commons to the Lords to hear the Queen’s speech.
The long march to York would thus take some 65 hours, or well over a working week, if they are not to plod away all night. This is rather a long time for Boris Johnson to have been stuck with an uncommunicative Jeremy Corbyn.
MPs could then travel back by train, second-class, or else by (non-state) coach, which ConservativeHome sees is advertised at £10 a pop. The Queen might reasonably want an overnight break in York.
Or else the Commons could decamp to the city entire for the Queen’s Speech – and debate it there. The Sunday Times suggests that the lower House may also go on tour, so that would make sense.
But the new Lords building would then need space for the Commons to meet too. This would presumably raise the cost of the whole enterprise.
Or else, reactionary thought, one might not bother to move the Lords at all, and save all this trouble. We apologise to Dominic Cummings for our hestitation over this project. O brave new world, that has such people in it!