Big Ben could bong for Brexit with public fundraiser, PM says

Carla Harmon
January 15, 2020

But on Tuesday, Mr Johnson told BBC Breakfast: "We're working up a plan so people can bung a bob for a Big Ben bong, because there are some people who want to".

After a meeting of the House of Commons Commission on Monday morning, it was decided that it would be just too expensive for Big Ben to ring in the Brexit due to financial and logistical issues.

The House of Commons Commission has said the estimated cost of up to £500,000 can not be justified and using donations would be "unprecedented". A temporary floor would need to be installed, as well as a temporary electric bell hammer which would enable the bell to sound.

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. 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.

Johnson's spokesman said there wasn't a specific government fund to collect the money, but that if others raised it the government would hold talks with parliamentary authorities.

Should Big Ben bong for Brexit?

"Boris got elected on a massive majority on the basis of Get Brexit Done and he can't even bring himself as Prime Minister to say they are going to fund this to show the world we are organised and we are ready".

While he acknowledged the crowdfunding efforts would be better than spending taxpayers' money, he could not see why a recording of Big Ben could not be used instead.

Despite the ongoing repairs being made to Big Ben, there have been recent occasions where the clock has struck. "It is a significant moment in our history".

"If you don't get it [the crowdfunding]. take our bongs, put it on a loudhailer, and you've got the bongs".

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

He said: "We also have to bear in mind that the only people who will hear it will be those who live near or are visiting Westminster".

When work on the tower began, it was agreed that it would sound for Remembrance Sunday, Armistice Day and New Year's Eve.

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