There Are Demands For Big Ben To Bong For Brexit And People Are Losing The Will To Live

Rachel Wearmouth
There Are Demands For Big Ben To Bong For Brexit And People Are Losing The Will To Live

Brexit has had many twists and turns - but will it be marked with Big Ben’s bongs?

This is the debate occupying the great minds of the political class as 2020 gets into full swing in the UK.

More than three years after the 2016 referendum, the UK will finally leave the EU at the end of January. At 11pm on January 31, to be precise.

Brexiteers such as Nigel Farage will be celebrating and think it is fitting that the bell in Westminster’s Elizabeth Tower - known as Big Ben - should ring out to distinguish this seminal moment in Britain’s history.

But there is a problem. Big Ben is currently not chiming at all due to major restoration works and prime minister Boris Johnson has said the government will not fund a one-off Brexit bong.

It is thought the standalone chimes would cost £500,000 - or £45,454 per bong for the 11 bongs - as Big Ben’s clapper must be temporarily re-installed.

Johnson initially suggested that the Great British public might like to club together to fund the bongs.

He told the BBC in his first big interview of the year/decade: “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.

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

But Downing Street was forced to later admit that there was no specific organised page and take-up of his offer has so far been limited, with various crowdfunding pages struggling to break the £500 mark between them.

Brexit Party chairman Richard Tice suggested the government should fork out for the chimes, because they would “bring the nation together”.

And if snark and outrage were cash, the public would have their bongs for sure, because neither was in short supply.

There were also some creative suggestions for alternative ways for Big Ben to bong.

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Others made some more serious points.

EU campaigner James Melville, meanwhile, wanted to use bong-gate to spark pro-EU defiance.

We believe that this tweet speaks for the silent majority.

There are government plans to mark Britain’s exit from the European Union with festivities on January 31, with specific plans to be unveiled in the coming days

The PM’s official spokesman said there was not a “specific government fund” to meet the costs, but added: “If the public wants Big Ben to bong and the money is raised, then that is great.

“We will make sure that - whatever happens in regard to Big Ben’s bongs - January 31 is properly marked. It is a significant moment in our history.”


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This article originally appeared on HuffPost.