The Mail on Sunday

Wellington and Nelson could watch Brexit debate


MPs will hold this week’s crucial Brexit debates in an historic Westminste­r venue depicting Britain’s triumphs over the French if the Commons is flooded out again.

Secret plans are in place to ‘decant’ MPs to the House of Lords’ Royal Gallery if they suffer a repeat of last week’s flood which forced them to clear the Chamber.

The sumptuous room – the largest in the Palace of Westminste­r – features magnificen­t paintings commemorat­ing the Duke of Wellington’s victory over Napoleon at Waterloo and Lord Nelson’s triumph over FrancoSpan­ish forces at Trafalgar.

Tory MP and arch-Brexiteer Peter Bone said: ‘There could be no better place to restore our independen­ce and sovereignt­y from Europe.’

But Remain-supporting Labour peer Lord Adonis said: ‘Nothing would more symbolise our declining status in the world than for the final folly of us leaving Europe to be debated against the backdrop of such historic victories.’

To their embarrassm­ent last week, MPs were forced to scrap a debate when a burst pipe led to water gushing into the Chamber.

Ministers are terrified of a repeat this week during vital Brexit debates, with one saying: ‘Can you imagine the internatio­nal ridicule if Theresa May had to interrupt a Brexit speech because of a leak?’

Commons officials say last week’s leak – from a loose pipe on a water fountain – has been repaired.

The two enormous paintings in the Royal Gallery – both by Daniel Maclise – record significan­t moments from the Napoleonic wars. The Meeting Of Wellington And Blucher portrays the Iron Duke and the Prussian Field Marshal in an inn after the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. The Death Of Nelson depicts the demise of Lord Nelson during the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

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