Ever since the Palace of Westminster was opened in 1852 MPs have managed to dodge the raindrops on the 40-yard walk through Star Chamber Court. But now a £422,000 steel and glass cover will protect ministers and MPs walk from the cafeteria and bar on the Commons terrace to New Palace Yard.
Yesterday Commons officials defended the cover, saying: "MPs and staff can walk from the Norman Shaw buildings at the North of the site to the south end of the House of Lords without getting caught in the rain."
But some MPs looked with astonishment at the bronze-coloured supports.
Norman Baker, Liberal Democrat MP for Lewes, said: "You could give every MP a gold-plated umbrella and still be quids in. How can anyone think this is value for money?"
The news will add to questions about the cost of running the Commons, after ministers spent more than £450,000 last year on pot plants for Whitehall offices.
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