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Johnson/Cummings propose moving the House of Lords to York

January 19th, 2020

If not London then York is as good as it gets

There’s a single column story on the front page of the Sunday Times that reads like one of those spoofs you see on April Fools day suggesting that Johnson wants to move the Lords permanently to York. The paper’s Tim Shipman reports:

The prime minister last week ordered work to begin on the practicalities of a move, in further evidence that the Conservatives are serious about cementing their gains in what were once Labour’s heartlands. Disused government-owned land close to York railway station has already been identified as a prime site to build a new second chamber.

If York is chosen as the Lords’ new home, it will be the first time the city has been a centre of political power since the English Civil War, when it played host to the Council of the North.

As a former resident I think that it’s a good idea. If you’re going to move anywhere then York with it’s historical significance seems on the right tracks. After all the Synod of the Church of England meets in the city once a year. The Anglican church has managed to operate with twin centres of governance for centuries so why who not the UK parliament.

York played a big part in the early days of the creation of PB. I was appointed Director of Development at the University of York at the start of 2005 a few months after PB was created and bought an apartment backing onto the magnificent city walls. I left in the middle of 2007 the year that I retired to work full time on the site. This was the period when the site was establishing itself.

Where York stands out is that the transport links are so good with a fast and frequent rail service to London. Some services do it in two hours and there are good links throughout the whole of the north of England and, of course, Scotland.

York has a great sense of its own importance and sees itself as the natural second city. We don’t know how serious this proposal is but it could work.

York voted 62% Remain.

Mike Smithson