A BUCKS MP spoke of his fears for the future of the Palace of Westminster in this paper just one day before a horrifying blaze devastated Notre Dame in Paris.

David Lidington, the deputy Prime Minister and MP for Aylesbury, exclusively told the Bucks Free Press how the risk of a “catastrophic fire” in Parliament is growing every year as the building becomes more “dilapidated”.

His comments were published on the Bucks Free Press website on Sunday – just a day before the Unesco World Heritage site went up in flames.

Millions have been pledged to help restore and rebuild the iconic 850-year-old cathedral after the fire brought down the spire and the roof.

The entire cathedral was only minutes away from total destruction, officials have said, and the Paris fire service battled for nine hours.

Mr Lidington’s comments came in response to a burst water pipe in the press gallery above the speaker’s chair – which forced an important debate on loan charges to be abandoned.

He said: “The plumbers have patched things up, but this incident highlighted the need for Parliament to press ahead with plans for a fundamental overhaul of the Palace of Westminster.

“Several times in the last year, chunks of masonry have fallen off buildings. We’ve been very lucky no one has been seriously injured.

“Worse, the electrical, plumbing, heating and sewerage systems are well beyond their expected working life span and in a dilapidated state. With each year that passes, the risk of a catastrophic fire grows.

“The Palace of Westminster embodies much of our country’s history. Two years ago, I voted in favour of the wholesale restoration and renewal of the Palace of Westminster, with MPs and Peers moving out for a few years to nearby premises.

“Last week’s flood reminds us that we need to get on with this work.”

Commenting after the news of the Notre Dame blaze, Mr Lidington said: “Heartbreaking, shocking news about Notre Dame. The UK stands in sympathy and solidarity with Paris and the whole of France.”

French President Emmanuel Macron vowed it would be rebuilt “even more beautifully” and said the renovations to restore the cathedral’s iconic 19th century spire, vaulting and two-thirds of its roof would be completed in time for the Paris 2024 Olympics.

France is also to invite architects from around the world to submit their designs for a new spire to sit atop a renovated Notre Dame cathedral.

Investigators are still looking into the cause of the blaze.