Countdown clock to be projected onto Number 10 to mark Brexit day

Andrew Cummings
January 19, 2020

Stand Up 4 Brexit's "Big Ben must bong for Brexit" campaign had raised £153,000 of its £500,000 target from nearly 10,000 donors on the GoFundMe website by Friday morning.

The Prime Minister will also directly address the nation on the need to "heal the divisions" left by the 2016 European Union referendum campaign on the night of the UK's departure from the bloc.

A "friendship group" has been set up by Members of the European Parliament, aiming to forge closer links with the United Kingdom as it leaves the EU. "The government intends to use this as a moment to heal divisions, re-unite communities and look forward to the country that we want to build over the next decade", Downing Street said in a statement on Saturday.

The iconic London clock tower is undergoing a massive refurbishment programme and the government had claimed the cost for it to be brought into temporary service for a day would be around GBP 500,000.

A total of 52 per cent of Leave voters think it should be rung on Brexit day, compared to 13 per cent of Remain voters.

A clock counting down to 11pm will be beamed onto the black bricks of Downing Street on 31 January, Number 10 announced, with buildings across Whitehall also lit up.

The Prime Minister is expected to be one of the first to receive the new coin, which will be inscribed with the words: "Peace, prosperity and friendship with all nations" and the Brexit day.

His team was reportedly forced to melt down the coins prepared for October 31, 2019 - the day Johnson originally promised to deliver Brexit after coming to power in July.

The debate over how Britain will differ from the European Union in terms of regulatory standards is said to play a key role in the talks - an ongoing Brexit could lead to delays at the borders and increase costs for automakers and other manufacturers.

Boris Johnson will chair a special session of his cabinet in the north of England on January 31, where ministers will discuss the government's plans to spread wealth and opportunities across the UK.

The clock is now out of action due to renovation works.

Talks to thrash out a new trade deal between London and Brussels are due to begin by early March, once the formal divorce is in place.

Rebecca Ryan, founder of Stand Up 4 Brexit, said the speed of the fundraising effort "bears testament to the strength of feeling amongst the British people that Big Ben, the focal point of our democracy, must bong to mark this historic occasion - the moment when we finally take back control".

"It's ridiculous, isn't it?"

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

Downing Street has said the chiming of Big Ben is "a matter for the House" of Commons.

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