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Liberal Democrats to move HQ

Michael Crick | 18:02 UK time, Thursday, 7 April 2011

The Liberal Democrats have put their Cowley Street headquarters up for sale - or rather the remaining five years of their current lease.

If you're interested, the rent is £225,000 a year. You can see the estate agent's brochure here.

The Liberal Democrats are hoping to move to new headquarters within the next three months.

The move is not for financial reasons, I'm assured, but because they particularly want offices were everything can be accommodated on one floor, rather the five floors they currently occupy at 4 Cowley Street.

"Cowley Street is a beautiful building, a glorious building," the Lib Dem Chief Executive Chris Fox told me, "but it's not suitable for the needs of 21st Century campaigning".

"We're looking to move to a single floor open-plan office. It's a real handicap when people are shut away in rooms on different floors. It's all about sitting together, working together."

Ah, so that's where the Lib Dems went wrong in 2010.

"They have been looking at several options," their agent, Richard Weller of Glinsman Weller, told me, "and they have a shortlist of three places, all properties where one would pay £30 to £35 a square foot".

How about moving into Millbank Tower, once the home of New Labour, and where Weller confirms several floors are currently available?

The Conservatives also rent a floor in the tower nowadays (for computer and ancillary work), though their front-line political operations are run from the adjacent building at 30 Millbank.

What better way to cement the coalition than for the Lib Dems to move in next door?

Alas, no. "Millbank Tower is not an option," says Mr Fox.

He wouldn't reveal where they are considering, though he promised me it would be a location where journalists can still doorstep people.

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