There was chaos in Parliament this morning as an enormous crack opened up in the roof of one of its main buildings, dumping a ‘gallon’ of water of unsuspecting MPs, staffers and advisors.
The farce unfolded in the estate’s Portcullis House building, an enormous modern glass and steel development on the other side of the road to the main Parliament building, connected to the Commons and the Lords via an underground passageway.
One observer, who captured the moment water poured in, with a visibly flooded floor, commented that the “Ceiling of Portcullis house just cracked open and water pouring in!”
Mirror journalist Mikey Smith who was also in the large foyer when the disaster happened and reported no one was hurt, “but a laptop and a leather sofa have seen better days.”.
He joked: “If you’re coming to PCH, bring your bathers. It’s an absolute lido in here.”
A very large pool of water could also be seen on the floor.
Portcullis House may be the most modern part of the Parliamentary estate, but it’s been beset with problems over the last few years.
It came in at a total cost of £235 million to build when completed in 2001, nine years after works began.
The total was £60 million over that originally budgeted, and it’s seen a number of serious breakages since then.
In 2016, a 12-month £210,000 technical study commission by the House of Commons said the roof was “stable and posed no safety risk”.
However panels have fallen out in the past, potentially caused by “seasonal variations”.
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The report said “breakages would reduce over time”, but warned up to £1.5 million may have to be spent repairing the glass-panelled roof.
A year later, it was warned that the bill could in fact come to £100 million.
Other faults have included the £150,000 decorative fig trees having to be removed as they kept falling over, and the removal of expensive water features after similar faults.
A Commons spokesperson said: “Teams are currently attending to an issue with the atrium roof in Portcullis House. Safety mitigations are being implemented as a precautionary measure, and to allow us to continue our investigations. Further updates will be provided in due course”.
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Twitter users all made the same joke around today’s building chaos, with one posting: “Amongst the worst pieces of feedback editors give is ‘This metaphor is too on the nose’”.
One MP staffer joked: “Fun day at the office (this place is falling apart)”.
A third said: “The glass ceiling has finally been broken in Parliament”.
No injuries have been reported at this time.
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