Jacob Rees-Mogg slams 'woke plan' for gender neutral toilet quotas in £13 billion Houses of Parliament revamp

24 November 2022, 15:23 | Updated: 24 November 2022, 15:26

Jacob Rees-Mogg has hit out at the claims
Jacob Rees-Mogg has hit out at the claims. Picture: Getty

By Kit Heren

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 £13 billion refurbishment of parliament, were not good value for money.

According to inclusivity guidance published in 2019, gender-neutral toilets have to make up 10% of facilities in existing buildings in parliament. But the plans are under review, according to a spokesperson for the site.

But Mr Rees-Mogg said the plans were ridiculous.

Gender-neutral toilets should make up 10% of facilities at parliament, according to guidance
Gender-neutral toilets should make up 10% of facilities at parliament, according to guidance. Picture: Getty

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 resplendent.

"It is not about the latest woke ideas from pointless committees doing unnecessary jobs. Their salaries could be saved and devoted to some physical building works."

A parliament spokesman said: 'We continuously work to provide an inclusive working environment where everyone feels welcome, respected and valued. Across the Parliamentary Estate, there is a range of single-sex and gender neutral toilet facilities.

"A range 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.

Jacob Rees-Mogg is not happy with the plan
Jacob Rees-Mogg is not happy with the plan. Picture: Getty

"The figures quoted in the document were developed in 2019 as guidance only and are currently under review. Any final decision on future design requirements would need approval from Members through the appropriate governance channels in both Houses."

The restoration and renewal sponsor body was set up in 2019 to oversee the revamp of Parliament, which has been beset by controversy and disputes. 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 in the worst case scenario for the refurbishment 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.

Sir Lindsay Hoyle 'very concerned' about structure of Commons

The issue of where MPs and Lords would move to has been a live debate for some time.

The largely Victorian-era complex has a sewage systems dating some 150 years, and disability 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 was coming and the water was coming into the roof, it was seeping in all over," Commons speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle told LBC's Andrew Marr in March this year after heavy rains.

Leaking Roof Brings House Of Commons Proceedings To An End

One option put to Sir Lindsay by Andrew was using the Queen Elizabeth Conference Centre, a short walk past Parliament Square Garden.

But that is the "default" position of the Lords, he said, stressing he would follow whatever MPs vote to do.

"What I would say is I'm very concerned about the structure of the House of Commons, it matters to me. And I'm going to make sure that we're maintaining the building."

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