Parliament: A playground for the rich?

Sacrilege! There is apparently a plan afoot to transform part of the House of Commons into a playground for the very rich - a sort of ultra superior gentleman’s club - which would instantly reduce the exclusive status of A-List St James’s clubs into mere second-rate establishments.

For just £2,000-a-year individuals could claim membership of this Commons 'club', including access to the riverside Terrace, and for a cool £20,000 companies could become members and be allowed to stage spectacular events in the Palace of Westminster.

Champagne would be on tap, banquets could be arranged at the click of a finger and 'gigs', whatever they are, could be promoted.

Sacrilege: There is a plan afoot to transform part of the Houses of Parliament into an exclusive club

Sacrilege: There is a plan afoot to transform part of the Houses of Parliament into an exclusive club

And while they are at it, why do they not transform that party of the River Thames which runs alongside the Palace of Westminster into a sort of super deluxe marina where bloated Russian oligarchs and Premiership footballers could moor their fancy yachts?

Various 'themed' tours are planned including a trudge up the Clock Tower (a bargain at £75 with a meal thrown in) to see and listen to Big Ben at the top. This could be billed as 'the London equivalent of a walk across Sydney Harbour Bridge', it is suggested. Hardly. I trust the organisers would continue to repeat the warning to those who now climb those steps that anyone with a heart condition should give it a miss.

Membership, we are told, would be limited to a thousand. A thousand! That is nearly double the number of MPs.

And of course, in these days of enforced equality, anybody could join - provided, of course, that their coffers, their pockets and their wallets are stuffed with filthy lucre.

The money, naturally, in these straitened times, would come in useful to support our self-styled hard-done-by politicians who now want their own trade union and are demanding yet bigger and better expense accounts, heaven help us.

Nor would there be a problem for the security staff. Our down-at-heel, shabby MPs would be instantly distinguishable from the slickly-suited, highly-polished plutocrats who could soon be in their midst.

What a splendid wheeze, it all sounds. But getting it through the House of Commons might not be that easy.

Some years ago, a plan was afoot to set up a modest coffee stall in Westminster Hall. The idea was greeted with shrieks of horror - and it was immediately dropped. This plan is on an altogether different scale.

Nor would it be just the traditionalist Colonel Blimps of Westminster who would object. Already Paul Flynn, the outspoken Labour MP has denounced the plan as 'prostitution of a revered institution'.

Tin hats at the ready, lads!

Read Chris Moncrieff's RightMinds blog here

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