London: Creaking and in dire need of repair, Britain`s iconic Houses of Parliament are likely to be closed for up to five years under refurbishment plans worth 3 billion pounds.
The House of Commons and the House of Lords would be evacuated for the first time since the second world war while the building is overhauled after decades of delay, the Sunday Times today reported.
No final decision has yet been taken, but closing the Parliament building for repair is one of the options being considered, the report.
If that option is adopted, parliamentary sessions could be held in a replica chamber under the nearby Big Ben during repairs, the report said.
Other options under scrutiny include leaving the Palace of Westminster for good, selling it off and building a new parliament or continuing with decades of limited repairs during the summer holidays, the Sunday Times added.
A House of Commons spokesman said: "Officials are undertaking an initial study into options for the long-term upkeep of the palace. It is anticipated that the results of the initial study will be considered by the House of Commons commission and the House of Lords committee by the end of the year."