Big Ben WON'T bong for Brexit: January 31 chimes ruled out over costs

Big Ben WON’T bong for Brexit: Parliament rules out special chimes on January 31 as cost is put at £500,000

  • House of Commons Commission yesterday decided the costs were too great 
  • Temporary floor for ringing the 13-ton bell had already been removed
  • MPs decided the £500,000 total cost of the bell ringing was not justified
  • But Tory MP Mark Francois said he would go up and ring it himself if needed

Big Ben will not bong for Brexit because MPs have decided the patriotic chimes were not worth £500,000.

The campaign for the bell to ring at 11pm on January 31 – Brexit day – had been spearheaded by Tory MP Mark Francois. 

But a House of Commons Commission yesterday dismissed the proposal after MPs were informed that costs had soared to half a million from an original estimate of £120,000. 

This was because the temporary floor which had been put in place to strike the 13-ton bell had already been removed and would need to be re-installed. 

The campaign for the bell to ring at 11pm on January 31 – Brexit eve – had been spearheaded by Tory MP Mark Francois. But a House of Commons Commission yesterday dismissed the bid over soaring costs

One source told The Telegraph: ‘No one in the meeting thought it was worth spending £500,000 on having Big Ben strike the hour on one occasion. 

‘When you consider what else that money could be spent on, it’s very hard to make an argument in favour of it.’

But Mr Francois did not share that view, saying to the paper: ‘What was the cost of it chiming on New Year’s Eve? What was the cost of it chiming on Remembrance Sunday?

‘I’ve already offered to go up Big Ben myself, ably assisted by Bill Cash, to ring the bell myself to save money.

‘If all else fails, the BBC must have a recording of Big Ben chiming they could play at 11pm at no cost whatsoever to taxpayers.’

Mr Francois said: ‘What was the cost of it chiming on New Year’s Eve? What was the cost of it chiming on Remembrance Sunday? I’ve already offered to go up Big Ben myself, ably assisted by Bill Cash, to ring the bell myself to save money. If all else fails, the BBC must have a recording of Big Ben chiming they could play at 11pm at no cost whatsoever to taxpayers’

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage had planned to host a lavish party in Parliament Square to watch Big Ben’s bongs on January 31 ring out.

Ten thousand Leave supporters were expected to attend but it is now unclear how the Commission’s decision will affect the plans.  

The Elizabeth Tower has been undergoing renovations and the ringing of Big Ben  has been prohibited since 2017 to protect the workers’ hearing, except on the special occasions to which Mr Francois referred.

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