.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Friday, March 16, 2012

A welcome MP revolt

Yesterday's Independent has details of an MPs' revolt that many people will welcome. However, for once this act of defiance has nothing to do with the English health service or welfare reform.

The paper says that visitors will continue to see Big Ben for free after MPs blocked a plan to charge tourists £15 for trips up Westminster's famous Clock Tower. Apparently, the House of Commons Commission wanted to levy the fee in a bid to make savings across Parliament. But opponents claimed charging for access to the landmark housing the famous Big Ben bell breached citizens' democratic rights. Visits will now remain free of charge until at least 2015:

After a two-hour debate, Liberal Democrat John Thurso, who represents the House of Commission, withdrew his plan saying the "commission would ensure there was no charge for the Clock Tower during the course of this Parliament".

The current Parliament is due to end in 2015, with future MPs able to charge for guided tours if they want.

Leader of the House Sir George Young and his Labour shadow Angela Eagle did not object to the plan for charging visitors to pay £15 to climb the 334 steps to see the famous bell struck.

Sir George told MPs: "I have to say the ability to climb the Clock Tower isn't essential to the enhancement of our democracy, to an insight into the way the political system works.

"There is a difference between access to the Clock Tower and access to the chamber."

Ms Eagle said: "It is important to remember this about access to the Clock Tower. It is not about access to this building in its working sense as a Parliament."

The estimate had been that 10,000 visitors would have generated income of £150,000. Now the Commission will have to look elsewhere for the money.
"Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee"
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?