No requests have been made by government to make Big Ben chime on Brexit day
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
Despite it being a key demand of Brexiteers, MPs have been told the government has made no attempt to make Big Ben chime on January 31st.
Conservative former minister Mark Francois has led efforts within parliament for Big Ben to bong at 11pm on January 31 to mark the UK's departure from the EU.
He tabled an early day motion (EDM), which attracted 55 signatures, and proposed an amendment to the Withdrawal Agreement Bill although it was not selected for debate.
But Conservative Sir Paul Beresford, answering a written parliamentary question on behalf of the commission, said: "The House of Commons Commission has not received a request from the Government to arrange for Big Ben to chime to mark the UK's departure from the EU."
He added the commission is "aware" of the EDM and "further aware" of the amendment which was tabled.
You may also want to watch:
Sir Paul added: "In May 2018, the commission agreed that, during the Elizabeth Tower refurbishment project, Big Ben should sound only for Remembrance Sunday, Armistice Day and over the New Year."
SNP MP Patrick Grady, who asked the written question, told the PA news agency: "For many people across the UK, leaving the EU on January 31 will not be a cause for celebration.
- 1 Boris Johnson warned majority will be 'wiped out' over treatment towards north of England
- 2 Piers Morgan must expose the government's Brexit betrayal
- 3 Boris Johnson 'frantically repositioning' himself for Donald Trump to lose election
- 4 UKIP set to select 'Dr Gammons' as candidate for London mayoral election
- 5 James Cleverly mocked after telling people to 'look at how they're doing in Wales'
- 6 Peers set to remove law-breaking sections of Boris Johnson's Brexit bill
- 7 Minister says Dido Harding is working '19-hours a day' on Test and Trace
- 8 Brexiteer Prue Leith quits Tory Party after government votes down motion to protect UK food standards
- 9 Public slams Brexit Party tweet which shames Tory MPs who voted against free school meals
- 10 Second shop owner bans Tory MPs who voted against free school meals motion
"The bombast and triumphalism of the hard Brexiteers who want to hear Big Ben chime to mark that moment is hardly in keeping with the PM's desire to bring the country together.
"It now seems that despite the ERG's (European Research Group) best efforts, the government has not approached parliamentary authorities about the use of Big Ben and the Commons commission is clear that it was not one of the few causes envisioned that would allow for chimes during the repair period.
"Stopping the expensive restoration work to chime the bells will add to the cost of the overall programme - and many who would hear the bells might not hear celebrations, but be asking for whom the bell tolls."
Big Ben's bongs were temporarily silenced in 2017 for the safety of workers involved in a four-year restoration scheme of the Elizabeth Tower.
Become a Supporter
The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.