Published: Sat, January 18, 2020
Global News | By Blake Casey

Clock to be projected on to Downing Street on Brexit day

Clock to be projected on to Downing Street on Brexit day

MPs had failed to have the momentous clock chime made a matter of law, but the concept of crowdfunding was given a ringing endorsement by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who said that his own team was "working up a plan so people can bung a bob for a Big Ben bong".

Other buildings around the government district of Whitehall will also be lit up.

He added: "The striking of Big Ben on these occasions was coordinated around the planned works so as to minimise the impact on the project costs and to ensure it did not result in any delay".

Eurosceptic group Leave.EU has called for bells of local churches to ring out on February 1 "to celebrate Britain's new-found independence".

The House of Commons Commission said it was too expensive to sound a one-off bong of the iconic bell - which is undergoing major refurbishment - with the cost estimated at £500,000.

Meanwhile, a campaign to find £500,000 to make Big Ben ring when the United Kingdom leaves the European Union has raised more than £200,000.

The Prime Minister had previously said he was "working up a plan so people can bung a bob for a Big Ben bong" as the bell is now silenced while renovations are carried out.

More than 9,000 people have donated cash, including Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom who handed over £10.

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The plan quickly fizzled when the House of Commons Commission, which oversees the administration of Westminster, ruled out using donations to cover the cost.

Conservative MP Mark Francois told BBC Radio 4's The World at One that the pro-Brexit Leave Means Leave campaign and Mr Banks had donated £50,000. In a statement late Tuesday, the commission said Parliament "has well-established means of voting through the expenditure required to allow it to function".

But in an increasingly heated and farcical atmosphere, it subsequently transpired that the government had no such plan, and the House of Commons commission had no way of accepting public donations.

Downing Street has said the prime minister will chair a cabinet meeting in the north of England during the day, to discuss spreading "prosperity and opportunity".

Several newspapers backed the idea, including the Daily Express, which declared in a front-page headline that "Big Ben Must Bong for Brexit".

Nevertheless, Mr Farage will be hosting a party in Parliament Square on January 31 and said a recording of a Big Ben clang would be played out of speakers at 11pm when Britain officially leaves the trading bloc.

He added: 'I urge Downing Street to make a clear statement that the Prime Minister and the Cabinet want Big Ben to signal the moment when our great country officially leaves the European Union'.

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