03:00 GMT04 December 2020
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    The news comes as No 10 is considering whether to move the House of Lords outside London to help them connect more with voters, with aides holding talks on building the new chamber at the new brownfield site in the North's historical capital.

    Cabinet Office aides working for UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson are mulling relocating the House of Lords to York, government sources said on Sunday.

    Sir Eddie Lister, PM Johnson's chief of staff, inspected an 111-acre brownfield site near the York railway station on 31 January for a potential new home for Parliament's upper house.

    “Sir Eddie visited York recently to look at a possible site. This is being taken seriously,” a government source said as quoted by the Daily Express.

    According to the Express, government aides believed York had a "suitable character" for hosting the House of Lords.

    The British Prime Minister reportedly ordered advisors to study whether the move would help boost the government's plan to refocus "attention and investment" away from London.

    Neil Ferris, York city council director of economy and place, said at a meeting that officials were not aware of the proposal, "but we understand that the government are seriously looking at it".

    He said: "Whether or not it has any mileage is a matter for government. The [council] leader has written to the Prime Minister effectively welcoming their proposal. The fact that the Prime Minister's aware of the site, that the quality of the site has been raised nationally and internationally, can only be good for the city."

    ​News of the move comes after it was revealed that Lords would receive a "above-inflation" increase in daily allowances to £323, without proving any contributions to work done in the Upper House, sparking ire from Mr Johnson during a Prime Minister's Question session last week.

    Senior cabinet officials are also mulling whether to decriminalise non-payment of BBC licencing fees, prompting concerns over revenue shortages from company chairman Sir David Clementi, who said in a speech in Salford last week that failure to preserve the media outlet as a "great national asset" would lead to a "weakened" Britain.

    Further shocks last week included a major Downing Street reshuffle, where numerous cabinet officials were forced to resign, including former Culture secretary Nicky Morgan and former Chancellor Sajid Javid, among others.

    Mr Javid stepped down on Thursday after Johnson requested he sack his advisors, with the latter appointing Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Rishi Sunak, to the post.


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