IT’S 80 miles from Big Ben – but Southampton is set to house the new call centre for the Houses of Parliament.
The Daily Echo has learned that the city is in line to be the base for the new parliamentary switchboard in an attempt to save £1m.
Capita Symonds, the company awarded the contract to run the service, insisted no decision has been made.
But it admitted it was considering the move to the south coast.
It is understood that daytime calls would be taken in Southampton, and at evenings and weekends they would go to Swindon.
Currently 26 people operate the switchboard, currently based in a grand room above the Commons chamber.
It is not known how many staff will be used in the relocated office.
John Denham, Labour MP for Southampton Itchen, said: “I suppose we
should be grateful it’s not Bombay.
“I think it will strike many people as odd that the House of Commons cannot run this service in-house, but from a Southampton point of view I welcome any jobs that come here.”
Outsourcing giant Capita, which recently took over control of the switchboard, manages services on behalf of local and central government, including Southampton City Council.
A spokesman would not confirm where in the city the centre would be based.
The operators handle thousands of calls every day from people trying to reach MPs and members of the House of Lords.
The Capita spokesman said: “We can confirm that we are considering moving the Operator Bureau to Swindon and or Southampton, but at present no plans are confirmed.”