Boris Johnson says government could crowdfund £500,000 so Big Ben can bong for Brexit – The Independent

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Boris Johnson says government could crowdfund £500,000 so Big Ben can bong for Brexit – The Independent

Boris Johnson has suggested the public could raise half a million pounds so Big Ben can bong to mark Brexit.

The Tories’ plan for the famous bell to chime on 31 January to mark the moment Britain leaves the European Union was scuppered after it was deemed to be too costly.

But in his first sit-down interview of the new year, the prime minister said the government was looking into a crowdfunding campaign to raise the £500,000 needed for the idea to go ahead.

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He told the BBC: “We are working up a plan so people can bung a bob for a Big Ben bong.

“Because as everybody knows Big Ben is being refurbished they seem to have taken the clapper away, so we need to restore the clapper in order to bong Big Ben on Brexit night.

leftCreated with Sketch.
rightCreated with Sketch.

1/5 clockreuters.jpg

t was 154 years ago that the four-faced Great Clock started keeping time, and on July 11, 1859, Big Ben first struck time. At 2am the bells must announce British Summer Time. The deadline has never been missed, although the the clockmakers of Westminster have come close.

Reuters

2/5 clockface.JPG

“Paul Robeson unplugs the quarter-train’s break shaft from the mechanism.”

Mimi Mollica

3/5 clockbell.jpg

Big Ben is actually the nickname of the bell inside the 96-metre Clock Tower.

Mimi Mollica

4/5 clockworkings.jpg

The wheels and cogs of the clock are seen inside Big Ben.

Reuters

5/5 IanWestworthReuters.jpg

Clock mechanic Ian Westworth climbs 334 steps.

Reuters

1/5 clockreuters.jpg

t was 154 years ago that the four-faced Great Clock started keeping time, and on July 11, 1859, Big Ben first struck time. At 2am the bells must announce British Summer Time. The deadline has never been missed, although the the clockmakers of Westminster have come close.

Reuters

2/5 clockface.JPG

“Paul Robeson unplugs the quarter-train’s break shaft from the mechanism.”

Mimi Mollica

3/5 clockbell.jpg

Big Ben is actually the nickname of the bell inside the 96-metre Clock Tower.

Mimi Mollica

4/5 clockworkings.jpg

The wheels and cogs of the clock are seen inside Big Ben.

Reuters

5/5 IanWestworthReuters.jpg

Clock mechanic Ian Westworth climbs 334 steps.

Reuters

“That is expensive, so we’re looking at whether people can fund it.”

The House of Commons Commission dismissed the idea over financial issues during a meeting on Monday after it was revealed the original estimated cost of £120,000 had soared to £500,000.

The 315ft, Grade I-listed Elizabeth Tower which holds the bell and clock face is undergoing a £61m restoration in which costs have already more than doubled.

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage has claimed he is planning to throw a £100,000 party in Parliament Square with fireworks, bands and speakers to mark the UK’s departure from the EU at 11pm on 31 January.

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