The word “Dave” scratched into stonework and the remnants of Extinction Rebellion and Just Stop Oil protests were just some of the damage the House of Commons and surrounding parliamentary areas suffered in the past 12 months, a Freedom of Information request revealed through The Independent.
Raising most eyebrows was a piece of vandalism, mentioned in the maintenance reports dating from December 2021 to December 2022, was of an x-rated nature. The ‘sexually explicit graffiti’ appeared on a toilet door opposite the Strangers’ bar inside parliament.
The note made to maintenance read: “Men’s toilet opposite the Strangers’ Bar, left cubicle (as you look at them). Someone has carved sexually explicit graffiti into the back of the cubicle door. As this is [sic] area is used by members of the public there’s reputational risk. Can something be done urgently to remove/sand down the offending graffiti please? Could we lock the cubicle in the meantime?”
The information, which covers maintenance jobs and security incidents within the walls of the Government offices, also revealed that there were 29 maintenance jobs requested throughout 2022 - nine more than 2020, while 13 recorded reports of security incidents were made. There were eight security incidents in total across the stretch of 2020 and 2021.
The exploits of civil disobedience by protestors was also captured in the Freedom of Information request, with a note in November asking maintenance to “please repair green sofa in HOC Members’ lobby due to vandalism with glue. Please remove defects on sofa” referring to an Extinction Rebellion protest.
Another note, also from November, read: “Protesters glueing themselves to items in Members’ lobby and squirting a red substance (tomato ketchup?) in the area.” Though the House of Common had sustained some damage throughout 2022, the majority of the reports are in relation to buildings within the Palace of Westminster, including the whitewashing of a wall and railings, allegedly by Animal Rebellion, at the Elizabeth Tower in September.