Big Ben: Should the famous clock tower bong for Brexit?

Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks in the Stormont Parliament Buildings in Belfast

Prime Minister Boris Johnson Credit Reuters

"If all else fails, the BBC will play an old recording of Big Ben chiming, they could play it at 11pm at no cost whatsoever to taxpayers".

But Boris Johnson has suggested crowdfunding could cover the costs of getting the bell working on 31 January.

The prime minister was speaking after a House of Commons Commission dismissed the proposal for the bell to sound for Brexit because it would be too expensive.

An amendment to the PM's Brexit bill, which would have required it to chime on Brexit day at 23:00 GMT, failed last week.

"The problem with the bongs... the bongs cost £500,000 [each]", Johnson told BBC Breakfast.
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The body - a group of MPs and officials responsible for the day-to-day running of Parliament - later issued a second statement raising concerns about any type of crowdfunding. Big Ben's bongs were temporarily silenced in 2017 for the safety of workers involved in a four-year restoration scheme of the Elizabeth Tower.

The high cost is down to the need to install a temporary floor and restore the clapper.

The estimated cost has risen from £120,000 to £500,000 because a temporary floor would need to be installed in order to ring the bell in the tower, which is now being renovated.

Previously he has "lightheartedly" said he would go up Big Ben and bong it himself if the House of Commons does not comply.

Lindsay Hoyle, the speaker of the House of Commons, urged people to consider if it is money worth spending because it would cost about £50,000 per bong and would only be heard by people living near or visiting Westminster.

However, Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage questioned the £500,000 figure, and accused the commission of "obstruction".

Some people say that Big Ben should chime for such an important moment for the United Kingdom, others say it would cost a fortune and is a bit of a waste of money.

But Labour MP David Lammy said £500,000 was a "huge amount of money to waste on jingoism".

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Tuesday (Jan 14) the government was considering a crowdfunding campaign to allow Big Ben, now silenced for renovation, to ring out the moment Britain is due to leave the European Union.

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