Devastating Notre Dame-style fire could happen to the crumbling Palace of Westminster, MPs warn
A DEVASTATING fire like at Notre Dame could happen to the Palace of Westminster, MPs have warned.
After the tragic blaze at the 850-year-old cathedral in Paris last night, Jeremy Corbyn said Westminster was at risk of a "huge" fire.
Politicians have admitted serious work needs to be done to protect the historic building, but have spent years bickering over the best way to do it.
The Labour boss said today the Notre Dame fire was "very, very sad" and praised the firefighters for tackling it.
He added: "The state of the building is very poor in Westminster and a fire risk is obviously huge with a building that has so much wood within it."
Commons leader Andrea Leadsom said the fire was "devastating" and stressed that "events like this are a crucial reminder of the importance of preserving our historic buildings".
Fire risks will constantly be reassessed, she added.
Top Labour MP Chris Bryant said MPs had already taken "far too long" putting in place our own fire safety measures.
Parts of our beautiful Parliament were as old as the historic French building and must be looked after, he warned.
"We must make sure that every fire precaution is taken as the major work goes ahead," Mr Bryant said.
"God knows we've had enough warnings."
And Mrs May's deputy David Lidington warned just a few weeks ago: "With each year that passes, the risk of a catastrophic fire grows."
Today incredible photos of inside the devastated Gothic structure emerged – showing a gold cross glistening in the embers.
And the stunning stained glass windows appear to have survived the fire, which has now been put out after an all-night battle from firefighters.
France has started a criminal probe into the fire, which saw the church's old spire and roof collapse in last night.
Fellow MP Jim Fitzpatrick warned today the blaze was "the great fear for all historic buildings including the Houses of Parliament."
The crumbling Westminster buildings are such a fire risk that a team of 32 people monitor it 24 hours a day in case a fire breaks out, The Sun revealed last year.
12 fires were caught in the year to February 2018, MP Mr Bryant said.
A Parliamentary spokesperson told The Sun today: "Fire safety is a key priority for Parliament and protections are constantly reviewed and updated including at our active construction sites, and in planning for the future restoration and renewal of the Palace of Westminster.
"Last year we completed a major programme of works to enhance fire life safety measures in the Palace, and while this work continues we stand ready to learn any lessons that emerge from the fire at Notre Dame to ensure we do everything possible to protect our people and buildings on the Parliamentary Estate."
Officials updated and upgraded fire doors, fire safety signs and put in a high pressure water mist system to help reduce any fire risks.
What restoration works are going on in the Houses of Parliament?
The Palace's oldest area – Westminster Hall – dates back to 1099.
Some bits of the estate were devastated by fire themselves in 1834, and was destroyed during the World War II blitz, but has been rebuilt.
Last year MPs decided to move out of the 1,100 room estate to restore it, but the details are still being worked out.
The full cost of the repairs won't be revealed until 2021 – but at the moment the bill is thought to be around £442million BEFORE they even move elsewhere.
The total cost will go into the billions.
Work on Big Ben has been going on since August 2017 when it stopping bonging.
It's only rung out at New Year and on Remembrance Sunday since.
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Last year The Sun was given a tour of the chaotic maze of corridors in Parliament – which is falling apart.
MPs voted by 236 to 220 to support a full programme of repairs, which will see them move out of the Victorian-era palace for the first time since the Commons chamber was destroyed by a bomb in 1941.
The building regularly leaks, bits of masonry have occasionally fallen off, and hanging electric cables are a fire risk.
Earlier this month MPs had to leave the Commons and the debate stopped altogether after water started gushing into the press gallery.
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