PCH Getting New Year’s Makeover

MPs and their staff returning to SW1 will immediately notice a big difference to their communal meeting and dining foyer in Portcullis House. A huge scaffolding construction has enveloped almost the entirety of the inner building, removing access to tables and chairs. On the inside? We don’t yet know thanks to the thick black curtains shielding everything from view.

A source tells Guido the work is to replace the old and defunct area previously occupied by fig trees, which while providing some nice greenery, had a desire to topple over – something the House authorities spent over £500,000 trying to prevent over 12 years. The trees got the axe last year. It will now apparently become a platformed events space, an initiative of the Speaker’s doing. FoI requests at the ready…

UPDATE: A House of Commons spokesperson said: “Following removal of the trees from the atrium earlier this year, we are using recess to test the space to see how it might be used more flexibly in future for a variety of uses, and to understand any limitations.” 

mdi-timer 3 January 2023 @ 13:58 3 Jan 2023 @ 13:58 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Staffers Claim PCH Atrocity Display Putting Them Off Lunch

While the Western world continues backing the plight of Ukraine, Tory MP staffers have been focusing on the real problems resulting from the war: a new Portcullis House billboard display of Russian war crimes.

The 10-foot tall exhibit in the centre of the MP meeting ground “shows the systematic atrocities against civilians that are an integral part of Russia’s assault on Ukraine: rape, torture, executions, bombardments, and the destroyed lives they leave behind”. Pretty heavy, important stuff. What objections could staffers have to it?

This afternoon, a Red Wall MP’s aide wrote to the Speaker about the exhibition. The primary concern:

“Whilst of course events by Russia are abhorrent, staff and members need some spaces for lunch. Having war crimes staring at you prevents you from taking a well-needed break.

That last sentence has, surely, thus far, never been written in an email to a Commons Speaker before…

Among other concerns, the staffers claim that the size of the signs “presents huge security concerns, in effect blocking security’s view for a large part of the atrium.

Guido suggests that if someone with ill intent is standing unsupervised in the middle of PCH, House security has made quite a substantial blunder already…

mdi-timer 28 November 2022 @ 17:05 28 Nov 2022 @ 17:05 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
PCH’s Famous Breakfast Wraps Return

Guido is pleased to report that PCH’s famous breakfast wraps have finally returned. The wraps are so loved by MPs and staffers alike, that rumour has it the estate refused to bring back the breakfast snack back whilst operating under tight Covid-19 rules, because they feared it would attract large queues. With both meaty and veggie wraps available at the bargain taxpayer-subsidised price of just £2.23, Guido is sure that no MP will go home hungry…

 

mdi-timer 18 October 2021 @ 10:42 18 Oct 2021 @ 10:42 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Vulnerable Corbyn Flouts Self-Isolation & Social Distancing

Four days from retirement, Corbyn, 70, has been snapped brazenly sitting in the centre of the UK’s corona virus hotbed, ignoring the Government’s self-isolating dictum – despite Parliament shutting down six days ago. Corbyn is also clearly ignoring the Government’s two-metre social distancing rule. He’s not the Messiah, he’s a very naughty boy…

mdi-timer 31 March 2020 @ 14:05 31 Mar 2020 @ 14:05 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
PCH Luxury Furniture Refurb Totals £28,000

The continuing dilapidation of Portcullis House has been well-documented; most recently seeing the removal of its continually-breaking water feature. On Monday, MPs and Staffers arrived to see Parliament authorities have gone too far the other way – removing the low-quality temporary tables and chairs that had replaced the fountains and replacing them with luxury designer sofas and leather armchairs. Is this signalling a new era of sofa government?…

The Times have totalled the cost of the furniture at almost £28,000, although knowing the public sector the work put into buying and installing them will total many thousands more. Work and Pensions Secretary Thérèse Coffey took the Commons Authorities to task over the absurd cost, saying

“These are the same authorities that don’t provide appropriate office chairs or lighting for a working environment, helped by the fact that we are in a royal palace and not technically subject to health and safety legislation”

The sofas and armchairs form part of PCH’s new “agile working zone” – which is questionable as none of the chairs recline…

mdi-timer 19 February 2020 @ 15:15 19 Feb 2020 @ 15:15 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
PCH Refurbishment Due as Soon as Restoration and Renewal Project Ends

Mice were spotted running around the Portcullis House kitchen area earlier this week, in news that will not settle the minds (or the stomachs) of people who work on the Parliamentary Estate. PCH is only eighteen years old and yet already it is breaking at the seams; with broken fountains being removed, leaking office roofs, broken air conditioning, windows cracking in extreme heat, dying trees, and mice in abundance. Blair’s PFI palace is falling to pieces…

Guido hears that senior parliamentary authorities are expecting to have to begin extensive refurbishment work on Portcullis House as soon as the unprecedented restoration and renewal work in the Palace of Westminster winds up. Complete PCH refurbishment will be extensive, expensive, and difficult as the £235 million structure is built into Westminster Tube Station below. Just as MPs and their staff thought they would be able to finally have some peace and quiet…

mdi-timer 12 February 2020 @ 15:08 12 Feb 2020 @ 15:08 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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