Bacteria responsible for Legionnaires' found on parliamentary estate

Bacteria responsible for deadly Legionnaires’ disease is found in showers and tea room on parliamentary estate

  • Areas of Portcullis House in Westminster shut as a ‘precautionary measure’
  • Comes after ‘low levels’ of bacteria found during routine monitoring by staff
  • Disinfection of the water system is now taking place in affected areas of building 

Bacteria responsible for the deadly Legionnaires’ disease has been found in showers and a tea point on the parliamentary estate.

The House of Commons authorities has confirmed that areas of Portcullis House have been shut as a ‘precautionary measure’ after ‘low levels’ of the bacteria were identified during routine monitoring by maintenance staff.

A House spokesperson added that ‘isolated areas’ of the building have been affected and a disinfection of the water system in those parts are now being carried out.

A statement said: ‘As part of our routine proactive monitoring, our maintenance team have identified low levels of legionella bacteria in some isolated areas in Portcullis House. 

‘As a precautionary measure in line with best practice, we have temporarily closed the showers and a tea point affected, while we undertake a disinfection of the water system in line with normal protocols.

Areas of Portcullis House (pictured) have been shut as a ‘precautionary measure’ after ‘low levels’ of the bacteria were found

‘All other water sources in the building continue to be safe to use as normal.’ 

The legionella bacteria, which is naturally present in water systems, causes Legionnaires’ disease – which is fatal in 10 per cent of cases.

It can cause serious illnesses in people over the age of 50, smokers and those living with underlying health conditions. 

It comes as the main Palace of Westminster has long been beset by maintenance issues, including flooding, fires and vermin, and is said to be in need of extensive restoration. 

But Portcullis House, which was built to provide additional office space for MPs and their staff, was only opened in 2001. 

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