British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has proposed that funds could be raised from the public via a crowdfunder in order to get Big Ben to chime the moment Brexit officially takes place. The iconic clock which sits in the Queen Elizabeth Tower above the Houses of Parliament has not chimed since 2017, due to renovations.
“The problem with the bongs… the bongs cost £500,000 [each]”, Johnson told BBC Breakfast.
He said that a plan was being worked up to see if it was possible to satisfy those who want Big Ben to bong on 31 January at 11pm. "They seem to have taken the clapper away”, the PM said “so we need to restore the clapper in order to bong Big Ben on Brexit night. And that is expensive".
An attempt in parliament to compel the government to use public funds to ring Big Ben, backed by pro-Brexit MPs like Nigel Evans and Desmond Swayne, was unsuccessful on 7 January. Tory MP Mark Francois sought to attach an amendment that would have required Big Ben to chime to the EU withdrawal bill, but his amendment failed to be selected for a vote by Lindsay Hoyle the new Speaker of the House of Commons.
“Big Ben should bong for Brexit.”— Channel 4 News (@Channel4News) January 9, 2020
Mark Francois says he wants Parliament’s iconic bell to mark the moment the UK leaves the EU at 11pm on 31 January. pic.twitter.com/v9aBIewNVv