Fire-risk inquiry at 'taxpayer palaces'
Peter Brooke, Secretary of State for National Heritage, told the Commons of the decision yesterday amid questions about the adequacy of the one and a half page report of the Royal Berkshire Fire Brigade into the blaze at Windsor Castle.
The inquiry is expected to take several months and assess fire prevention measures at Windsor, Buckingham Palace, Clarence House, Kensington Palace, St James's Palace, Hampton Court, Kew Palace, the Tower of London and Banqueting House. The head of the inquiry is likely to be announced later this week.
Clarence House is the official residence of the Queen Mother and Kensington Palace the official residence of the Prince and Princess of Wales. Hampton, Kew, the Tower and Banqueting House are administered by the Historic Royal Palaces Agency.
The inquiry will only cover palaces where the taxpayer stands to pick up the bill for fire damage and not the royal family's private homes, such as Sandringham.
A report released last Friday by Buckingham Palace concluded that the Windsor fire was caused by a spotlight overheating a curtain and that no individual was to blame. But at question time yesterday, Ann Clwyd, Labour's heritage spokeswoman, pointed to the brevity of the report.
'The public believe that the report has been doctored and that the real report lies elsewhere,' she said. 'Why doesn't Mr Brooke publish the truth about this fire and not simply expect the public to foot a bill of up to pounds 60m without actually having its questions answered?'
Mr Brooke said the fire report, produced by a five-strong team of fire officers, police and forensic experts, was unanimous in its conclusions. He said no estimate could be made of the cost of restoration until the damaged areas had been surveyed and a decision taken on the form of the restoration. The pounds 60m figure had been 'generated by the media'.
Avoiding being drawn into the debate over whether the gutted state rooms should be restored or make way for a contemporary design, Mr Brooke told MPs: 'I hope that out of the fire and the scar which it leaves will emerge a reconstruction which commends widespread admiration and a sense of national achievement.'
- 1 Alan Rickman admits editing 'terrible' script with friends in Pizza Hut behind backs of writers on Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
- 2 Rarest Beanie Baby of them all could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
- 3 Driving while dehydrated can be just as dangerous as drink driving, study suggests
- 4 Ben Affleck asked TV chiefs to hide slave-owning ancestry, new hacked Sony emails published by Wikileaks claim
- 5 Farmer told to tear down mock-Tudor castle after hiding construction behind hay bales
Alan Rickman admits editing 'terrible' script with friends in Pizza Hut behind backs of writers on Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
Rarest Beanie Baby of them all could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
Professional big game hunter Ian Gibson crushed to death by elephant during hunt
Ben Affleck asked TV chiefs to hide slave-owning ancestry, new hacked Sony emails published by Wikileaks claim
Farmer told to tear down mock-Tudor castle after hiding construction behind hay bales
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...
£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...