Entertainment & Arts

Houses of Parliament allows Meryl Streep filming

Palace of Westminster Image copyright PA
Image caption Commercial filming was not previously allowed in the Houses of Parliament

Permission has been granted for a major film to be shot inside the Houses of Parliament for the first time.

Parts of Suffragette, which is expected to star Meryl Streep as the women's votes campaigner Emmeline Pankhurst, are to be filmed in the building.

The Administration Select Committee has granted permission.

Its chairman Sir Alan Haselhurst said he had been persuaded by the film's subject matter and the need to raise money for the upkeep of Parliament.

He told BBC Radio 4: "This is a test case to some extent. We are putting our toe in the water.

"Nobody is disadvantaged. It is taking place in a way that absolutely does not affect the normal operation of Parliament, and if it helps the bottom line, then I would have thought the public would say, 'You are being prudent.'"

Image copyright AP
Image caption Meryl Streep won an Oscar for playing ex-UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher

Commercial filming has not been allowed inside Parliament in the past, with movie-makers forced to find alternative locations.

When Streep played Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady in 2011, Manchester Town Hall doubled for parts of the Palace of Westminster.

Suffragette will tell the story of Pankhurst, who frequently led protests around Westminster.

She was imprisoned for the first time in February 1908 when she attempted to enter the House of Commons.

Later that year, she was jailed again after being found guilty of inciting a rush on the House of Commons.

The film of her struggle is also expected to star Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter, Romola Garai and Ben Whishaw.

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