Parliament has released a document outlining proposed changes to several parliamentary buildings which will occur as part of a refurbishment and modernisation process, which was approved by MP’s last year.
During the refurbishment to Parliament’s Northern Estate, Parliament will use a temporary House of Commons to conduct business, which under these proposals will feature increased availability of lifts, a more spacious layout and allow for a Prime Minister who uses a wheelchair to sit on the front benches and answer questions from MPs.
A spokesperson for the renewal programme of the House of Commons said: “The design team are also developing solutions to make sure MPs who use wheelchairs can sit with their party colleagues, and for those locations to not just be along the front benches.”
They added that changes to the temporary House of Commons would “support the design of work” of the older building because “improvements to disabled access is a key feature” of the refurbishment of the classic building.
A spokesperson for the Disabled Students Association Stirling (DSAS) said that they are “thrilled” about the plans due to previous experiences in the current House of Commons when a colleague “was forced to sit separately from their group and their wheelchair positioned on the main floor.”
The DSAS spokesperson described changes to improve accessibility as a “first step” to securing a solution to the current “lack of accurate representation in parliament” but maintained that wheelchair access should be incorporated in the original design of any building “rather than a kind of bonus”.
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