18 February 2022

Parliamentary staff angry at potential Asbestos exposure

PCS say the health and safety risks posed to members were unacceptable and avoidable.

The incident took place last autumn during fire safety work being carried out in Speaker’s House, the residence of Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle.

People affected are currently being notified by House of Commons authorities and the Health and Safety executive is due to investigate the circumstances of the exposure.

Following a year-long inquiry by MPs and peers, it was recommended a “full decant” of MPs to another location while the outdated sewage, electrical and heating systems are replaced, and asbestos removed.

However, the Commons Commission wants to explore the option of MPs remaining on the estate while the work is carried out, rather than a wholesale restoration.

Commons authorities in the meantime continue to make ad-hoc repairs and carry out fire prevention measures.

A PCS spokesman said: "By not following what was originally recommended by MPs last year, the works currently being carried out have posed an avoidable and unnecessary risk to our members.

"Asbestos is a lethal substance and can cause a wide range of irreversible health conditions and death.

"Our members safety on the parliamentary estate is our number one priority and the fact it has clearly not been from the point of the view of the Commons authorities is scandalous."