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BBC TwoNewsnight
Last Updated: Thursday, 29 June 2006, 11:39 GMT 12:39 UK
Change in the chamber?
How would you redesign the House of Commons?
How would you redesign the House of Commons?
The Leader of the House of Commons, Jack Straw, has backed plans to look at a possible redesign of the Commons chamber.

The idea would be to hold an architectural competition to consider various proposals for a revamped, less confrontational chamber.

Jeremy Paxman sought out politicians' ideas - watch his report below - but what do you think of this idea? Would a redesign be about time, or a waste of time? Send us your ideas - and even your own pictures - for a possible revamp, and tell us whether you think more or less confrontation is the way forward.

Click here to send us your ideas

Could we not leave the chamber as it is and have the MPs redesigned?
Robert Page, Nottingham

Why is there a need to alter this commons chamber. We pride ourselves on our history. This place more than any other has been what we are all about. What's wrong with confrontation in politics? Don't let us become so PC that it is thought wrong. We the public want to see our politicians brought to book in full view. Long may it be so. Or is this like so many other things, trying to shift attention away from the way we are being governed?
Brian J Dickenson, Wirral, England

Less confrontational please. Having lines a sword's width apart are hardly helpful. A semi-circle is a possibility.
Judith Holmes, Newcastle upon Tyne

It would be an absolute architectural tragedy to tinker about with the existing Parliament buildings. It would make much more sense to relocate Parliament itself to the north of England, somewhere like Doncaster or Nottingham, which would bring a massive redistribution of some of London's jobs and wealth to the poorer parts of the country.
Alan Marsh, London

As long as the climbing frame and the sand pit had enough space between them for the members to play nicely then they should be happy!
David Liston, Swanley Kent

It ain't broke so it doesn't need fixing. It has served the U.K. well for hundreds of years through war & peace, good times and bad. But there is something wrong! It is both the quality and number of the MPs. Where are the true Parliamentarians, the ones who could debate without shouting? Changing the "bricks & mortar" will not solve anything, they don't do anything wrong. It's like closing a bad school or hospital, the inanimate bits don't do anything wrong! This is typical of "New Labour" - abolish the House of Lords without any idea with what to replace it! And this'll be the same. It is a Grade 1* listed building and should not be touched. And if all that ain't enough - what will the cost be? It'll make the Scottish Parliament building and Wembley Stadium look like "chicken feed!" Just leave well alone NOW! Or is this a reminder of the old maxim "those whom the Gods wish to destroy they first make mad!"
Tom Aldridge, Bury West Sussex UK

How about hotdesks? From some of the broadcasts from an almost empty House, surely they don't need those huge benches taking up space?
Helen, Reading

Parliamentarians should be in parliament to discuss the best way of servicing their constituents not constantly slanging each other. Listening to them reminds me of a load of school children fighting each other. We need a circular chamber not a box.
Mrs Susan C Carson, Salford

Let them all suffer The Dome in the way that the general public have had to, with Lord Falconer as doorman.
Eddie Main, Shifnal
Another idea from the Labour Government to spend more taxpayer money on yet another unnecessary 'project'. One idea (if it didn't cost a penny) would be for a table shaped like a horse-shoe with the Speaker et al seated at the open-end and Liberals and others at the head. Labour and Conservative MPs could face each other across the main part of the horse-shoe - hope you get my meaning since I cannot draw this for you but we did use it for our conferences at the World Bank (and UN)very successfully indeed.
Chips Westwood MBE, Sarlat La Caneda, France

I think it is a great idea to bring the surroundings of Parliament into a more up to date mode - let's waste more of taxpayers monies whilst job cuts in NHS go through, fantastic!
Lynn Griffith, Gibraltar

Wouldn't the money required for this revamp be better spent on something more useful and in danger of complete collapse.....i.e the NHS?
Emily Wallis, Stevenage

Leave it alone! It is meant to be confrontational - can these modernisers leave nothing alone?
A. Howlett, Manchester

The House of Commons should be redesigned, but only for practical purposes and NOT to make it 'less confrontational'. There should still be two opposing rows of seats which are two sword lengths apart. But the Chamber needs moderninising - it should be able to fit in all 650 MP's sat down; it should have a bigger, more modern and more comfortable gallery for visitors; the sickly green colour should be abolished and replaced by blue seating (which with the red of the House of Lords would make the colours of the Union Flag); there should be better lighting, heating, air conditioning, acoustics and access for disabled people. Do all of this and we will have the perfect House of Commons! Now, how to change the Lords.....
James Ransome, Altrincham, Cheshire

These Politicians keep telling us we need to modernise Britain but they never seem to include themselves in this. Rather than waste more Tax Payers money on revamping the Chamber they need to address their stupid, antiquated voting procedures. Why not install a hand pad voting system similar to the one used on the TV show "Millionaire." They are always whingeing about a lack of time to debate this, that and the other. And it's not surprising when you look at the time wasting charade of "clear the lobby....."
Larry Woodward, Brackley

I think it would be calamitous to change from an adversarial parliament to a horseshoe shaped bingo hall. Our Parliament serves not merely to pass legislation but to hold the government to account. If we look at places with horseshoe shaped parliaments they are either irrelevant like the French one or actually barred from interfering with the executive like the US. Obviously it would suit the government to turn parliament into a rubber stamp, but what's in it for the rest of us?
Daniel Wright, Mellis, Suffolk

Let them all suffer The Dome in the way that the general public have had to, with Lord Falconer as doorman.
Eddie Main, Shifnal

The new House of Commons should be designed to foster and encourage even more animosity and confrontation. I suggest a large steel cage that features such amenities as flickering florescent lighting and a smoke alarm that goes off periodically for a randomly determined length of time. Seating would be provided by durable, metal folding chairs with plenty of right angles in all the wrong places - comfort leads to complacency, after all. One of the main advantages of this seating arrangement is that it would enable ministers to punctuate key points, or illustrate disapproval, by hurling a chair across the room or giving their nemesis a good bosh 'round the head. To top it all off, the room should be kept at an optimum temperature of 38.5 degrees Celsius. All of this, combined with the ministers' usual intake of single malt, ought to make for a question time that even News of the World readers might tune into.
Samuel Bradshaw, Portsmouth

Sounds like yet another idea to waste tax-payers hard earned money. If it goes ahead I'll try and off-set the personal burden by placing a bet that it will be over time, over budget, ineffective and in conflict with the Human Rights Act!
Chris Morris, Horsham

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