After Notre Dame Fire, UK Lawmakers Worry About Parliament
In the wake of the fire that engulfed Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, U.K. lawmakers are warning that one of their own country's historical sites could similarly go up in flames: The Palace of Westminster. It's been home to U.K.'s Parliament for centuries.
The building that currently stands along the River Thames was built after a fire almost completely destroyed the previous version in 1834. Despite it being a much newer structure than Notre Dame, Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn told reporters the Palace of Westminster still posed a fire risk, calling the state of it "very poor." Fire crews are required to patrol the Palace 24/7, because outdated electrical wiring poses a huge hazard. And cabinet minister David Lidington recently wrote about the crumbling building for a local newspaper , saying, "The electrical, plumbing, heating and sewerage systems are well beyond their expected working life span and in a dilapidated state." To its credit, Parliament's approved a six-year renovation plan to overhaul the Palace that's expected to cost at least $4.5 billion.
But that work isn't slated to start until after lawmakers move out in 2025.
Following the fire in Paris, a parliamentary spokesman said that "fire safety is a key priority" and it "[stands] ready to learn any lessons that emerge from the fire at Notre Dame to ensure we do everything possible to protect our people and buildings." Additional reporting from Reuters.