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Monday, April 20, 1998 Published at 12:14 GMT 13:14 UK


Lord Irvine opens his doors
image: [ The notorious £59,000 hand-printed wallpaper unveiled today ]
The notorious £59,000 hand-printed wallpaper unveiled today

The Lord Chancellor has shown off his flat which was the subject of recent controversy when it was revealed that he spent £650,000 of tax payers' money on refurbishment.

After defending the work on his official residence in the House of Commons, Lord Irvine of Lairg invited the media to look around.

[ image: One of the pair of beds which cost £16,000]
One of the pair of beds which cost £16,000
Reporters, photographers and cameramen were shown around the River Room, dining room, drawing room, study and main bedroom.

Lord Irvine was not there to greet his guests. They were briefed on the work by Graham Goode, the Furnishing Manager of the Parliamentary Works Directorate, and Malcolm Hay, Curator of Works of Art for the Palace of Westminster.

Lord and Lady Irvine plan to move into the residence at the end of the month.

'A noble cause'

The money spent on the apartment in the Palace of Westminster was intended to restore it in the style of the original design by Augustus Pugin.

But Lord Irvine's decision to spend £59,000 on hand-printed wallpaper infuriated some Members of Parliament.

[ image: A piece of artwork loaned from the public art gallery]
A piece of artwork loaned from the public art gallery
Called to account by the House of Commons' public administration committee, the Lord Chancellor described the restoration as a "noble cause" that would be appreciated by future generations.

He said the wallpaper was worth the money paid for it because it would last 60 to 70 years.

"We are not talking about something down at the DIY store that might collapse after a year or so," he added.

Other features included a pair of beds costing £16,000 and a toilet worth £3,000.

The finishing touches are provided by about 100 paintings on loan from public art galleries.

Lord Irvine's flat will be open to groups of the public for 90 minutes on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

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Relevant Stories

01 Apr 98†|†UK
Labour MP turns heat on Irvine

30 Mar 98†|†UK
Renovation wrangle over Irvine's holiday home

11 Mar 98†|†UK
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Anger over Lord Irvine's wallpaper defence

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