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

Big Ben undergoing major renovation works

"I've already offered to go up Big Ben myself, ably assisted by (European Scrutiny Committee chair) Bill Cash, to ring the bell myself to save money", he said.

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.

"You are talking about 50,000 pounds ($65,000) a bong", House of Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle said.

Some eurosceptic lawmakers have been pushing for a celebratory peal to mark Brexit at 2300 GMT on January 31, despite the tower in which the world-famous bell is housed being closed for repairs.

Fellow party member Neil Gray added: 'The obsession with Big Ben chiming for Brexit really highlights the shallowness of the Vote Leave campaign. The House of Commons Commission said Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020 that because the clock mechanism has been dismantled and the belfry is now getting a new floor, arranging for the bell to ring "could result in huge costs to the public purse".

The bell should ring to allow those who want to celebrate to mark the occasion, he said, but acknowledged that not everyone would be cheering.

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"There are some that don't, they can watch Netflix or do whatever they want to do", he said.

"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".

Pressed on whether an official plan actually existed, he said: "There isn't a specific government fund".

The prime minister said Britons may be able to "bung a bob for a Big Ben bong" under government plans.

But it again appears to be ruled out on cost grounds: the House of Commons Commission, which runs parliament, was told on Monday the cost of an exceptional bong was £500,000 ($650,000, 580,000 euros).

"Whichever way you look at it, February 1 will be the most momentous morning in British history since the glorious day in 1945 when our country celebrated victory over the Nazi regime in Germany", the group said. "In 2018 the Central Council worked with the Government on a recruitment and awareness campaign to recognise 100 years since WW1 Armistice", it said in a statement.

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