York is seen as ‘outer Mongolia’ by the general public – says member of the House of Lords

The House of Lords chamber in London. Photograph © House of Lords 2018 / Annabel Moeller

A member of the House of Lords has said York is “seen as something of an outer Mongolia by the general public” – in a discussion about relocating the upper house to the city.

Outer Mongolia was a territory located between China and Russia.

Lord Singh of Wimbledon made the remarks yesterday as members of the House of Lords questioned whether the government is still considering moving the House to York.

They were told the decision is a matter for Parliament – but some members criticised the proposals.

Lord Singh said: “My Lords, York is seen as something of an outer Mongolia by the general public, who view the House of Lords as an outdated institution.”

It has been suggested the House of Lords could move to the York Central site.

Liberal Democrat Lord Wallace of Saltaire said: “Have there been any studies either of the site in York—which has actually been vacant for some time because they find it very hard to get interest from commercial operators for it—or how this will affect the relationship between the two Houses or between Parliament and Government? If not, why not?”

Pesky Lords

Lord Singh of Wimbledon. Photograph: Chris McAndrew / Wikipedia

Lib Dem leader of City of York Council Keith Aspden has welcomed proposals that the upper house could move to the city.

Labour Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town highlighted that Henry VIII tried to appease his rebels with a Parliament in York.

She said: “Will the Minister say who, this time, they are trying to placate by suggestions of a Parliament in York?

“It sounds as if he is trying to rid himself of these pesky Lords.”

And Lib Dem Lord Tyler described the proposals as a plan to “banish” the Lords to York – adding: “Would it not be much less disruptive to send the whole Cabinet Office to York?”

Conservative Lord True said the proposals would be considered by both the House of Commons and the House of Lords, adding: “I think it is reasonable for all of us to examine how every part of Parliament may find itself closer to the people.

“The relationship between the two Houses and parliamentary procedure will obviously be matters for consideration. Noble Lord will know that the R&R process means that the sponsor body has to consider alternative sites for Parliament. This is a matter on which there will be further announcements in due course.”