pounds 330,000 for Irvine decor

The Lord Chancellor, Derry Irvine, has spent more than pounds 330,000 renovating his Parliamentary residence, it was confirmed last night. The sum included almost pounds 60,000 for wallpaper.

In a Lords written reply Lord Boston of Faversham, the chairman of committees, said the sum had included electrical and fire alarm work, building, decorating and plumbing.

He set out a list of contracts for the renovation, along with their fixed prices. They included pounds 59,211 for wallpaper and pounds 56,066 for light fittings, plus a further pounds 10,000 for picture lighting. Decorating contracts have amounted to pounds 23,500, while design work has cost pounds 8,000.

The total for lighting design was pounds 7,200 and prototype curtain poles cost pounds 650.

The total contracts let by the end of October was pounds 333,784.

The figures do not appear to spell out the full cost of the facelift, though: the final figure is expected to cost up to pounds 650,000.

The plans caused an outcry when they were approved just after Lord Irvine dismissed some of his legal colleagues as "fat cats."

The Lord Chancellor has persuaded the National Maritime Museum, the Royal Academy, the Imperial War Museum and the National Gallery of Scotland to lend important works of art for display at the residence, which he says should be open to visitors with a "genuine interest" in historic buildings and art.

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