Boris Johnson considers moving House of Lords to York

Boris Johnson is considering relocating the House of Lords to the north of England, with York emerging as a frontrunner to house the upper chamber.

Conservative Party chairman James Cleverly confirmed the plan was being considering in Downing Street after reports emerged that the prime minister had ordered officials to look into the practicalities of shifting the Lords outside of London.

The prime minister is believed to be keen to take advantage of plans for the restoration of the crumbling Palace of Westminster, which already requires some 800 peers to another building for six years from 2025.

The move would be considered as part of a wider constitutional review, which will also look at the role of the Supreme Court and the Lord Chancellor, according to The Sunday Times.

Mr Cleverly told Sky News’ Ridge on Sunday: “What we are looking at is a whole range of options about making sure that every part of the UK is properly connected with politics.

“When the PM stood up after the day general election and said, ‘This is going to be the people’s government,’ he meant it.

“That meant connecting people with government and with politics.”

Pressed on whether it would happen, Mr Cleverly said: “We might. It’s one of a range of things we are looking into to.

“What this is about is demonstrating that we will do things differently.”

Challenged again, he said: “It’s one of a range of things we’re looking at. Trust me we’re going to be radical.”

It comes as Downing Street made it clear that the prime minister would be focusing on his domestic agenda to cement his support among voters in Labour’s former heartlands, who abandoned Jeremy Corbyn at the polls in December.

Mr Johnson has asked officials to limit his travel plans over 2020 so he can focus on the home front, sources said.

Shifting the Lords outside of London would fit in with his plan to “level up” the regions with London, with a number of cities reportedly in the frame to house the upper chamber.

A government source told the paper: “The York proposal is much further along.

“The PM is also keen to have parliamentary sessions in the regions, be it Sunderland or Manchester, so people get a chance to feel democracy in action first hand.”

A No 10 source said: “This will serve as a strong signal that we are serious about refocusing attention and investment away from London.

“It will set an example for the rest of the public sector and, of course, businesses looking to expand beyond the M25.”

However Wendy Chamberlain, Liberal Democrat constitutional relations spokesperson, said: “Boris Johnson is the man who tried to silence our democracy by unlawfully shutting down parliament. How can anyone trust him to fix our broken politics?

“Our politics doesn’t need piecemeal change. It is in need of an urgent and radical overhaul.”

It comes amid growing pressure on the prime minister to approve HS2, the government’s flagship high speed rail project, from political leaders in the north and midlands.

Andy Burnham, Labour’s mayor of Greater Manchester, and Andy Street, the Conservative mayor of Birmingham, joined forces to warn Mr Johnson that voters will be “watching and waiting”.

“People in the part of the midlands and the north have handed Boris the keys to Downing Street,” they wrote in the paper.

“Now he must unleash the potential of our regions. High-speed rail is the place to start.”

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