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Parliament Chambers Open for Tours

NEWS, TIPS & BARGAINS

August 13, 2000

For the first time in two decades--and for a limited time--tourists can walk in the steps of prime ministers and legislators in England's Palace of Westminster.

The public for years has been admitted to visitor galleries overlooking the Houses of Parliament. But it generally has been banned from floors of the debating chambers of the House of Lords and House of Commons since 1979, when an Irish terrorist bomb killed Parliament member Airey Neave on the ramp leading to the Commons' garage, according to Reuters news agency.

Until Sept. 16, while Parliament is in recess, visitors can now take guided tours of the Houses, the Royal Gallery and an exhibition on the history of parliamentary democracy. A popular stop when the palace opened last week was the spot where Prime Minister Tony Blair sweats it out during his weekly Q&A with often-hostile MPs.

Tours are held 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. daily except Sunday. Timed tickets, about $6 each, must be booked in advance on the Internet at http://www.ticketmaster.co.uk (click on "Exhibitions") or by calling Ticketmaster in Britain, tel. 011-44-20-7344-9966.

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