Plans to move the House of Lords outside of the London are under consideration as part of plans to reform the institution that would fit with the government’s pledge to “level up” the regions.
James Cleverly, the Conservative party chairman, confirmed parliament’s second chamber — home to almost 800 appointed peers — could be relocated to York or Birmingham.
It follows the Tory government’s pledge to do more to boost economic performance in struggling towns in northern England and the midlands as the Conservatives seek to reward new-found support in areas traditionally represented by Labour.
Questioned about the plan, first reported in the Sunday Times, Mr Cleverly told Sophy Ridge on Sky News: “It’s one of a range of things that we are looking into.
“It’s about demonstrating to people that we are going to do things differently. The Labour party lost millions of voters because they failed to listen.”
A wider reform of the Lords could be part of a constitutional overhaul trailed in the Conservatives’ general election manifesto. The driving force behind sweeping changes is Dominic Cummings, the prime minister’s chief adviser.
The Palace of Westminster, which houses both the Commons and the Lords, is due to be vacated for several years from 2025, under a six-year plan to restore the historic building by the Thames.
Shifting the Lords to northern England during that period, and potentially permanently, would be a highly symbolic way for Boris Johnson to demonstrate his determination to “level up” the rest of the UK with the capital.
Under current plans, the £4bn refurbishment of parliament would see peers move just over the road into the QEII Centre in Westminster, opposite Westminster Abbey.
However, Mr Johnson could use the opportunity to permanently move the House of Lords to the north of England. A decision on any new location for the second chamber is expected to be made this spring, as part a wider constitutional review.
Last week, the Tory party confirmed it was planning to move its headquarters outside London.
“When the prime minister stood up the day after the general election and said this is going to be a people’s government, he meant it. And that meant connecting people with government and politics,” Mr Cleverly said on Sunday.
“Because the referendum in 2016 wasn’t just about our relationship with the EU, it was about millions of people and their relationship with politics as a whole. So we’re looking at a whole range of ways of connecting people, in the kind of places where we won representation for the first time in decades.”
Meanwhile, the Labour party has nominated the former Commons speaker John Bercow and former deputy Labour leader Tom Watson for peerages.
Jeremy Corbyn’s former chief of staff Karie Murphy has also been nominated, despite a continuing investigation by the Equality and Human Rights Commission into the handling of anti-Semitism in the party. Ms Murphy’s role is expected to come under scrutiny during the probe.