“Do you mind if I inspect you?” asks one of the security guards, beckoning me to lift my arms up in preparation for a very thorough frisk.
I have set the alarm off while walking through the security gates at the entrance of Portcullis House, located opposite the Palace of Westminster – a fitting location to hear more about a joint committee’s recommendations on how to fix a crumbling parliament.
As CN’s parliamentary restoration reporter (among other things*), I didn’t just come to Westminster for views of the Thames.
Today marks the release of the joint committee’s report on how to deliver the complex parliamentary restoration works, and I’m here to read it.
After a head-to-toe inspection and bag check, I am herded into Grimond Room along with 30 other journalists.
We’re hungrily eyeing up the committee’s report being handed out, as after years of sticking its head in the sand, this could finally be the much-needed kick up the backside parliament needs to get restoration plans firmed up.
Leading the briefing is Baroness Stowell of Beeston and Labour MP Chris Bryant. Both are members of the joint committee and are outlining the recommendations it’s made on a preferred way forward for carrying out the essential works.
Which is, essentially, to boot all MPs (probably kicking and screaming) out of the Palace (though not the rest of the parliamentary estate) and into temporary accommodation.
Perhaps the most interesting thing that came out of the briefing was the potential impact the lack of specialist skills could have on delivering restoration works.
The ball is now in Theresa May’s court, and we will have to wait and see whether she backs the recommendations for a full decant or not.
One thing’s for sure: there’s still a long way to go before we have a fully restored centre of government.
*Not to mention my other beats: devolution, cities, public sector frameworks, contract wins and regional news around Scotland, the Midlands and Wales.
For more on the restoration, see CN tomorrow.
Summit 2016: Hear from the transport minister
There’s still time to save on your booking for the CN Summit 2016 on 11-12 October, where transport minister John Hayes will give a keynote address.
Book by Friday 9 September and save £50. You can also save an additional 10 per cent when booking online, using the code SUMMITONLINE.