24 November 2022, 15:23 | Updated: November 24, 2022, 3:26 p.m
Jacob Rees-Mogg has hit out at “woke” plans to include a minimum quota for gender-neutral toilets in the revamped Houses of Parliament.
The North East Somerset MP said the plans, part of a £13bn refurbishment of Parliament, were not good value for money.
According to inclusivity guidance published in 2019, gender-neutral toilets must make up 10% of the facilities in existing buildings in Parliament. But the plans are under review, according to a spokesman for the site.
But Mr Rees-Mogg said the plans were ridiculous.
He told MailOnline: “Restoration and renewal is meant to be about restoring the fabric of the Palace of Westminster. This has been done spectacularly well for the Elizabeth Tower, which is now restored and brilliant.
“It’s not about the latest woke ideas from pointless committees doing unnecessary jobs. Their wages could be saved and put towards some physical construction work.”
A spokesperson for Parliament said: ‘We are constantly working to create an inclusive working environment where everyone feels welcome, respected and valued. Across the parliamentary estate there are a number of single-sex and gender-neutral toilet facilities.
“A number of design options for the restoration and renewal of the Palace of Westminster are currently being looked at and these will be presented to both Houses of Parliament in due course.
“The figures quoted in the document were only developed in 2019 as a guide and are currently under review. Any final decision on future design requirements would require approval by members through the appropriate governance channels in both chambers.”
The Restoration and Renewal Sponsorship Body was established in 2019 to oversee the renewal of Parliament, which has been marred by controversy and dispute. Its board includes MPs and peers as well as historians and infrastructure experts.
MPs and peers will be forced to leave the Palace of Westminster for 20 years at worst for the renovation of the 19th-century World Heritage site, according to reports last year.
A better scenario would see MPs move for 12 years, which is still three times the original estimate of four years.
The question of where MPs and the Lords would move has been a lively debate for some time.
The predominantly Victorian complex has a sewage system dating back around 150 years and disabled access has been highlighted as an issue and the mechanical and electrical infrastructure has not been replaced since it was installed after the Second World War.
“The rain came and the water came into the roof, it was seeping all over,” Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle told LBC’s Andrew Marr in March this year after heavy rain.
One option for Sir Lindsay of Andrew was to use the Queen Elizabeth Conference Centre, a short walk past Parliament Square Garden.
But that is the Lord’s “standard” position, he said, stressing that he would follow what MPs vote to do.
“What I will say is that I am very concerned about the structure of the House of Commons, it matters to me. And I want to make sure that we maintain the building.”