Brexiteers appear to concede that Big Ben won’t bong on January 31st

Mark Francois appears on Good Morning Britain. Photograph: ITV.

Mark Francois appears on Good Morning Britain. Photograph: ITV. - Credit: Archant

After a lot of noisy demands from Brexiteers but, as reality hit, they have backed down and gone awfully quiet.

Sound familiar?

This time it's over the bonging of Big Ben on January 31st. Despite the prime minister initially backing calls for a crowdfunder to raise £500,000 to fund Big Ben bonging at 11pm to mark Brexit, Downing Street threw cold water on support for the proposals.

Tory Brexiteer Mark Francois' attempts to raise the money fell flat are they failed to reach their target with adequate time for the Houses of Parliament to prepare for such eventuality, and in any case, officials at the House of Commons had ruled out accepting the money for something government would typically have to fund.

Now Nigel Farage, planning for an event in Parliament Square, appears to have accepted the reality his planned party built around Big Ben bonging will need some creativity to happen.


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He has prepared a sound system loud enough to recreate the sound of the big clock marking the occasion.

MORE: Piers Morgan trolls Mark Francois by playing the bongs of Big Ben 'for free'

In an email to attendees of his event, he said: "We will be celebrating all those who have made this monumental victory for democracy possible - including politicians on the left and the right, campaigners who hand out leaflets in the rain, and the millions who turned out to vote.

"All are invited to the event, which will run from 9:30-11:15pm, with a prestigious line up of speakers, with extra screens, entertainment and momentos."

He continued: "We are still working on making the famous bell of Big Ben toll, but if bureaucrats in parliament refuse to allow this, we will recreate the sound with our powerful speak system.

"The world will be watching and listening. After more than 20 years of EU membership and a three-and-a-half year battle to uphold the referendum result, Brexit is happening."

Francois had previously called on the BBC to cut programming on its television channels to play out a recording of Big Ben at 11pm as a back up plan.

He also said he could said he was willing to go up the tower and "bong" it himself, a comment he later said was a joke.

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